How to Make the Most of Your Holiday Spending

Holiday spending has a tendency to get out of control. Here?s how to make the most of every dollar you spend this season.

?Tis the season for big spending. Even though I?m not into a lot of holiday spending, I still end up with more expenses than expected. This year, my holiday spending takes on a new dimension as I head East for nine days of meeting with clients, seeing friends, and staying with family. Plus, my son and I will spend a couple days in New York City.

holiday spending

I?ve been saving up for this trip for a couple months, so I?m ready. On top of that, I have a plan for my other holiday spending. If you?re going to be spending money, you need to make the most of it.

Sales, Gift Cards, Coupons, and Deals

The first step is to get more bang for your buck. I?m not a couponer, but I do like to look for special deals at places I?d shop anyway. I have $20 in rewards cash at one of my favorite retailers, and my son needs new snow pants this season. I have another $12 off at another store, and that will come in handy for getting stocking stuffers and small ?emergency? gifts.

Finally, not everyone is as lucky as I am to have a birthday in early December. My ex-husband used to get annoyed at me because I?d use any gift cards I received for my birthday to buy holiday gifts. It doesn?t bother me because it helps keep my holiday spending under control. I received an Amazon gift card for my birthday this year, and it will be perfect for ordering some household items I?m running low on. I can then use the money I saved for holiday entertaining.

By looking at what you have available to you, it?s possible to plan a strategy that allows you to get the most bang for your holiday spending buck. Don?t forget to check sales, but make sure they are true sales, and not just ?regular? discounts that you can find throughout the year anyway.

Rewards Credit Cards

One of my favorite holiday spending strategies is to use credit cards. You can search the best cashback credit cards available to find one that will reward you for your spending. If you can get a signing bonus, that?s even better. I also like to use my travel rewards cards. With the right holiday spending strategy, I can usually come away with almost enough points for a plane ticket. It?s a nice way to get a little extra during the holiday season.

It?s important to be careful about the way you spend when you use rewards credit cards for holiday shopping, however. Don?t spend money you don?t have. You want to be able to pay off your balance in January (or February at the latest), so that you aren?t racking up interest. It?s not really making the most of your holiday spending if you offset all of your rewards through interest charges. Make sure you have an actual plan for your spending before you move forward.

Wait Until Later

Finally, another thing I like to do is wait until later to do some of my holiday spending. Holiday cards, wrapping paper, and decor see deep discounts once Christmas is over. That?s when I head to the store to get some of what I need for next year. The week after New Year is also a good time to find sales on drinks and some snacks. If you want to stock up for entertaining during the first part of the year, this is a great time to go to the store.

As long as you plan ahead, budget for the holidays, and limit your debt, your holiday spending doesn?t have to be a problem.

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