Spend Less and Save More this Holiday Season

ChristmasPresents_000018068071XSmallThis holiday season, Consumers ConnectU is bringing you our favorite tips for saving time and money. Katie Bryan, Communications Director for America Saves, presents these holiday spending statistics—and savings strategies that help you celebrate without financial stress.

Last year, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) found that 12 percent of people said they were planning to spend more during the holidays than in the previous year. That number was up from 2011 where only 8 percent planned on spending more than in the previous year. This year, help reverse this trend and plan on spending less and saving more. Remember, it’s the thought that counts not the amount you spend. CFA and CUNA offer the following five ways to cut back on your holiday spending this year:

1. Make a budget and a list.

Decide how much you can afford to spend and stay within that budget. Make a price list of all gifts and other holiday items you plan to purchase. Take the list with you shopping to avoid overspending and impulse buys.

2. Comparison shop.

You can easily save more than 10 percent on most items, sometimes considerably more, by comparing prices at different stores. The Internet and smart phones have made comparison shopping that much easier.  But when shopping online, shop wisely.  Be sure you are purchasing from a secure site and review emailed statements for accuracy as you receive them.

3. Make time your ally.

The reason to start sooner rather than later is that when you delay, you pay. At last minute, you have to settle for something, and it might cost more than you wanted or planned to pay. Another benefit to starting early: It gives you more time to find the “right” gift and avoid impulsive decisions, which too often leave you less happy with your purchase.

4. See what’s in your supply drawer.

You may have more wrapping paper, ribbons, unused cards and gift boxes stored away from last season than you realize. Use up those holiday supplies first to trim down the amount you’ll have to buy this season.

5. Find some low- or no-cost ways to celebrate.

Adding a few changes can ease the strain on your spending budget. For example, draw names to limit the number of people you have to purchase gifts for; give homemade items; make your own gift wrap; organize a potluck rather than trying to make, and pay for, the entire holiday meal.

With the money you save on gifts, you can give yourself the gift of financial freedom by paying down debt or building your emergency savings fund.

Need help finding ways to save? Take the America Saves pledge to make a commitment to yourself to save and receive emails and/or text messages to keep you motivated.

America Saves, managed by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), is a non-profit researchbased social marketing campaign that seeks to motivate, support, and encourage low- to moderate-income households to save money and build wealth. Learn more at americasaves.org.

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