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More than a third of Americans plan to spend less this holiday season than in 2007. Here are some ways to keep to that promise.
Don’t wait until the last minute to buy all your gifts. There’s something about shopping in a mass frenzy that leads to impulse purchases.
ASK FOR DISCOUNTS
Retailers are already expecting the worst holiday shopping season in decades. If they think you’ll ring up a sale for an extra 10% off or free shipping, they’ll probably give it to you. Just ask.
We tend to overspend by about 20% when we pull out the plastic. Like I always say, cash is king. Now more than ever. Cash will keep you on a budget and some smaller retailers may even reward you with a discount when you show up with cash.
SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS
This way, if something you buy goes on sale a week or two later, you can try to get back the difference. Most major retailers and department stores will honor your receipt, unless it was marked as a final sale.
GIVE THE GIFT OF CHARITY
AT ChangingThePresent.org you can adopt a tiger, save a cloud forest or help thousands of other causes in the name of a loved one (sure beats getting another reindeer sweater for grandma). You can choose the cause and the amount that you want to donate, create a personalized greeting card and even earn a tax deduction.
WHEN CELEBRATING WITH FRIENDS:
OPT FOR LUNCH
Usually between the hours of noon and four you get to order from the same menu at your favorite restaurant with enough cash left to help buy a new bread maker for your in-laws. Take the swanky New York restaurant Le Bernadin, for example, the lunch tasting menu costs $68 per person – that's more than 60% off the dinner version.
BE A DESIGNATED DRIVER
While your friends spend away on martinis and wine, you can disguise your need to save with two words “I’m Driving.” You’ll be hailed as a good friend…all while smiling your way to the bank.
MAKE IT A BYOB
A host with the most doesn’t need to stock the bar. Ask guests to bring their beverage of choice. With a gathering of three or four couples that’s at least a $100 savings.
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOU ARE PLANNING TO SAVE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?
Catch more of Farnoosh’s advice on Real Simple. Real Life. on TLC, Friday nights at 8 p.m.