How to Recession Proof the Holiday Season

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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.

WHEN SHOPPING:

START EARLY

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.

BRING CASH
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.

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