Thursday, August 16, 2007

Prepare Early for Birthday and Holiday Expenses!

I never really think of adding birthday and holiday gift expenses to my monthly budget. I sort of just classify them as miscellaneous. But the expenses really add up when I include even the smallest of gifts. I'd say I probably spend anywhere between $400-$800 a year in gifts. So I've decided to add them as a category to my monthly budget.

I'm going to ease the shock of "the day of" gift purchases by opening a separate high-interest savings account just for it. I figure adding $40-$50 a month should cover me. A bonus to doing this is that I will earn interest (every bit helps) on the money I add to the account.

Some tips to save yourself money on gifts include:
  • When you shop for yourself, also keep someone in mind whose birthday may not be too far away, and purchase items on sale/clearance.
  • Shop for gifts on Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) and after Christmas. Doorbusters such as DVDs, CDs, and electronics are always on sale and are gifts that can be given year-round.
  • When purchasing online at any retail store, ALWAYS search Google for promo codes and discounts.
  • Buy in Bulk. See a great deal on some fashionable shirts for men? Buy more and hand them out to co-workers, cousins, and friends on their Birthdays.
  • Think outside the box : Dinner, sporting events, concerts, day at a spa. Some of these alternatives may be cheaper and even more memorable than that iPod or purse you were thinking of getting someone.