The holidays are almost here which means shopping for gifts, decorating the house, and entertaining friends and family. This time of the year can become quite hectic trying to squeeze all of the activities and to-do lists in our busy schedules. It can also be the most expensive time of year!
When you’re in holiday preparation mode, it’s easy to overspend because of the huge anticipation and excitement of the season. Next thing you know, you’ve gone well over your budget on gifts for the kids, relatives as well as teachers, not to mention holiday decorations, and food and beverages for entertaining. Oh I can already feel the stress of holiday spending! Here are a few ways to enjoy holiday shopping AND save money.
5 Ways to Save Time and Money on Holiday Shopping
Plan Your Purchases
Make a list and check it twice. Rather than purchase a bunch of small gifts for your kids, think about purchasing just one meaningful gift. It’ll save you time running around at busy malls looking for more stuff-they-don’t-need for the sake of putting them under the tree.
If you have a big family, skip the $10 gifts for every aunt, uncle and cousin on your never-ending list. Instead, arrange to have a Secret Santa so you only have one person to buy for. Set a budget of $25 to $50 per gift. If there are too many kids in the extended family to shop for, let the kids have their own separate Kris Kringle/Secret Santa.
Book Your Calendar
Part of the fun of the holiday season is entertaining guests, which means spending money on food and beverages. Plan in advance so you can budget your meal planning. Stock up on ingredients and products when they go on sale, like wine, cheese, nuts and of course, chocolate. Set your social schedule early, and try not to go overboard with entertaining.
On the flip side, are you normally invited to a dozen Christmas parties? Choose one or two and gracefully decline the other invitations. It’s also a great idea to stock up on a few host/hostess gifts for these occasions.
It’s easy to get caught up in the materialism of the holidays, and forget the true meaning of Christmas which is spending time with loved ones. Instead of buying trinkets that will just gather dust, spend your money on an experience that will create a lasting memory, such as a spa day, movie night, or tickets to the theatre or concert.
Avoid the crazy malls during the holiday rush by shopping online from the comfort of your own home. Buying toys in your PJs while sipping a chamomile tea is so much better than fighting the lineups. Just be sure that shipping and/or customs and insurance won’t cost more than the gift itself!
Earn cash back
The holiday season means you’re spending more money, but why not receive something in return? Cash back credit cards are a great way to earn some money back, simply by using it on every day purchases. The SimplyCash™ Preferred Credit Card from American Express is a wonderful cash back credit card because you earn 2% on every purchase, in every category.
Even more, you aren’t limited to just groceries, gas or restaurants; you can use the card for larger purchases too, such as those expensive Christmas gifts. The cash back can quickly add up, especially with the 5% cash back welcome bonus on purchases for the first 6 months of Card membership (up to $300)! Use the calculator to see how much you can earn.
After the welcome bonus, you’ll earn cash back at 2% with no limit. For example, if I’m spending $1,650 a month on my Card, I can earn back $378 in the first six months ($300 welcome rate plus 2% for spend over threshold), then an additional $198 the rest of the year!
With a $99 annual fee, you’re covered for Emergency Medical Insurance, Travel Accident Insurance, and Car Rental Theft & Damage Insurance, which will already offer you savings if you’re planning to take that vacation. With the SimplyCash Preferred credit card, you’re also auto enrolled to American Express Invites, which includes Front of the Line.
The SimplyCash™ Preferred Credit Card from American Express is easy to use and can actually put money back into your pocket!
Happy Holiday shopping!
Disclosure: This post is proudly sponsored by American Express Canada. As always, the opinions expressed herein are my own.