The Better Business Bureau provides tips for saving money this holiday season.
Holiday expenses can add up quickly, and one way to keep the financial damage to a minimum is to create a budget and then track spending. A budget should include the amount the family plans to spend on food, travel, incidentals and even a price limit for each person on the gift list.
Trim the Gift-giving List
When times are tight, whittling down the shopping list can save a lot of money. Aside from cutting the list down to only the closest of friends and family, some options include only giving gifts to children, setting generally accepted limits on what family and friends can spend and drawing names for gifts among family.
Do it Yourself
Not only are craft projects a great way to get the family working together, making decorations and even gifts is a great way to save money. There are many Web sites and books dedicated to holiday craft projects. For those who are crafty in the kitchen, holiday goodies such as baked goods and candies are also a much appreciated and inexpensive gift.
Forego the Little Things
When it comes to the holidays, the little things add up. Many of these little things can actually be pared down in leaner times. This includes foregoing season’s greetings cards, relying on last year’s decorations and using alternative wrapping paper—such as the Sunday comics or even the retailer’s shopping bag.
Be a Savvy Consumer
There will no doubt be a record number of sales this year as retail stores compete for shoppers’ dollars in the lean months leading up to celebrations. Before doing business with any online retailer though, BBB advises shoppers to check the company out with BBB first at www.bbb.org.
Trim Energy Consumption
BBB recommends turning the thermostat down only a few degrees when the family is home, and turning it down even more when at work or sleeping. Energy-conscious consumers can also reduce costs by driving less and keeping close to home for the holidays, as well as leaving outdoor Christmas lights on for only a few hours every night.
For more trustworthy advice on creating a holiday season budget, shopping safely online, and advice on charitable giving, visit: www.bbb.org.