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Budgeting for the HolidaysBudgeting for the Holidays

Tips & tricks to save for holiday gifts

The holiday season is here. It’s the season of giving but also the season of spending. 
AOPA Pilot Gear

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that US shoppers will spend about $700 billion between November and December 2020. The average consumer is expected to spend close to $1,000, with the bulk of it (64 percent) going to gifts. And, whether you will be shopping online, or venturing out, we wanted to share with you some of our tips for saving this holiday season.

Budget Appropriately
And I don’t mean make a mental list of things you need and ballpark a random dollar amount you think will suffice. Take the time to really sort out the expenses you expect to make this holiday season and budget accordingly. This means that you should also save money for activities that don’t involve shopping for gifts because chances are, you’ll be spending money on little things like cookies to bake, ice skating, gas to visit family, dinners, apparel for said dinners, and so on. These transactions will quickly add up and take away from your gift-giving budget.

Start Saving into A Holiday-Dedicated Bottle
If you haven’t done so already, throw loose change in a bottle or something whenever you have it. This can even be bills too. Anything that you get change for, throw it in the bucket. You will be amazed at how fast it will grow.

Get A Head Start on Your Shopping
We are weeks out from Black Friday, and there is no better time to start scouting deals online and in-stores. The longer you wait, the higher those prices go up, and who wants to be forced to navigate that last-minute shopping crowd anyway? It’s never too early to do your homework and start looking for sales, clearances, and coupons! Try sites like RetailMeNotGroupon, and The Krazy Koupon Lady to help start you off.

Purchase Gift Card Through Your Credit Card’s Shopping Portal
If you have a rewards credit card, find out if it has an online shopping portal. Credit card rewards may allow you to earn more points at participating stores than at other retail outlets.

With gift cards, you may be able to maximize rewards with your credit card while shopping at any store you want. If gift cards aren’t your thing, you can use your credit card points to buy items online through retailers on the portal.

Do A Holiday Swap Meet
A swap meet creates a free or low-cost shopping experience where you find gifts, holiday décor, and other supplies. Invite your friends and neighbors (if you have room for a large crowd, tell everyone to invite their friends and neighbors too — the more the merrier). Have everyone cull things they no longer want or need that are suitable as gifts and/or holiday decor.

Consider Giving Your Loved Ones Nonmonetary Gifts
Is Aunt Betty even going to like that scarf you picked out? That box of holiday chocolates you gave your cousin will probably only last all of five minutes. Did your significant other really need or want you to spend hundreds of dollars on an extravagant gift that you’ll just be forced to upstage next holiday season? Save yourself the headache of perusing the hundreds and hundreds of shelves at the store and try putting more thought into your gifts. Craft something for your loved ones! Here are some ideas you can mull over if you’re feeling stuck.

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Topics: AOPA Products and Services, AOPA Store

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