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We think now is more important than ever to be smart about spending money during the holidays. Here are 4 tips for smart holiday shopping:

1) Create A Holiday Shopping Budget And Stick With It. No need to try to keep up with the Joneses’. First look at your overall budget to determine what you can and are willing to spend this holiday season. Remember that time is tough for many people, so it’s okay to not spend a lot of money this year. Be realistic. Next, sit down with your family and make a list of everyone you are going to buy gift for. Next to their name, write an amount you are going to spend on them.

2) Get a gift receipt. Gift exchanges do happen, so be prepared by providing a gift receipt. That will ensure that the recipient gets a proper store credit. Purchases made in November and December are often eligible for extended return or exchange privileges.

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3) Buy Online. Buying online is a great way to save money when you are shopping for presents.

4) Avoid priority shipping. The deadline for free holiday shipping from major retailers generally expires about a week before Christmas. Keep in mind that ordering one-day service can add $20 or more and does not typically guarantee delivery within 24 hours. The arrival date is calculated from the moment the package is shipped, so factor in two or three days of processing time (unless otherwise stated). Read the fine print before rushing a delivery.


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