Presents are Not the Only Budget-Busters
Wallingford, CT – December 9, 2013 – If your credit card and bank account are groaning under the weight of holiday shopping, Connecticut Better Business Bureau has some tips to help pare-down the cost of buying and entertaining.
A good place to begin is by knowing what that the average family spends in December. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), most will spend $700 for entertainment and gifts, but it admits that’s a lowball estimate. If you are having people over for dinner or tend to buy presents for acquaintances, that amount may double.
That money is spent on travel, cards, food and gifts, however, holiday budgets can be busted by the lure of great deals.
“It’s not unusual to overspend because of tantalizing end-of-year sales,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau Executive Communications Director, Howard Schwartz. “We have to make a shopping list and budget, and delay gratification, especially if we are buying gifts for ourselves.”
There are a number of ways to help prevent over-spending:
Get help with the menu – If you are having a large group over for dinner, save time and money by asking everyone to bring something, such as an appetizer, salad, side dish, alcohol or dessert.
Buy in bulk for entertaining and giving – If you intend on serving wine, many liquor stores offer discount packages when you buy in bulk.
Check your gift list – Nobody wants to be a Scrooge, but gift-giving can get out of hand. Can you pare down your gift list and send a card instead?
Visit stores’ social media and coupon sites – Good deals are out there, and that includes items you might not see displayed at the front door. One example is check grocery store circulars. While some stores offer rewards for loyalty, you can cut entertainment costs by shopping according to price rather than doing all of your food shopping in one location.
Go to the source - Whether it is toys or electronics, check out the manufacturer’s website for holiday deals. They may be better than buying from a retailer.
Think ahead to next year - If you can hold off buying new decorations and cards, remember that their prices usually plummet by as much as 50 percent the day after Christmas. Take advantage of that for next year.
Buy some gifts after the holidays - That is when the real bargains appear, as retailers clear their December inventory. Chase the post-holiday sales for gifts for friends or relatives who you won’t see during Christmas, and remember some presents are timeless. Perhaps you will find something with a shelf life that would make an appropriate gift next year.
Look for additional consumer tips, hints and information at www.bbb.org.