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Holiday shopping budgeting tips

Survive the holidays without going broke with these five tips from productivity consultant Brad Hines.

Productivity consultant Brad Hines shares his tips for surviving the holidays without going broke. Productivity consultant Brad Hines shares his tips for surviving the holidays without going broke.

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most expensive. Americans spend an average of $786 on Christmas gifts, according to a recent Gallup poll. With a few tips, you can still get everyone on your list something special without depleting your bank account in the process. Brad Hines, a productivity consultant and founder of HungryKids.org shares his tips.

Shop with a list and budget in mind.
Retailers are well aware of their ability to create a holiday shopping frenzy. By knowing exactly what you are going to buy in advance, you avoid being sucked into buying more than you budgeted for.

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Set expectations.
Setting a limit of the number of gifts each family member receives not only helps save, but also is a reminder of what the season is all about. Spend time together volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. It’s a powerful reminder that “stuff” is not that important. Similarly, if you are on a tight budget, it’s OK to tell friends and relatives, asking them not to give you a present because you won’t be able to give them one in return. Most people will completely understand and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

Give experiences.
Sign up for sites like Groupon, Livingsocial and other daily deal sites not just in your city, but in cities where your loved ones live. Giving someone tango lessons, a gym membership or other experiences is something they’ll really love, and you’ll be saving money by getting it at a steeply discounted rate.

Look for discounts.
There is zero excuse not to comparison shop when online shopping to see which site has the lowest price. Also, before you head out to shop, Google the item you plan on buying and “coupon.” Many times there is a discount code or printable coupon that can save you 15 to 20 percent.

Do a secret Santa or Yankee swap with friends and coworkers.
Instead of having to buy every single person in the office or in your friend group a gift, agree that each person will only buy one gift. Not only will everyone be relieved, but it turns exchanging gifts into a fun game.

 
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