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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tips for Saving Money While Shopping and Gift Giving

I love the Holidays, all of them. They seem to be a time when family comes together. You know when we can all get together to see each other for a visit and to catch up with all that has been going on. The only problem with family get together is that if one is not careful the money that one spends can quickly get out of control. Office Depot and Twitter Mom has asked mom blogger’s to share tips on how to save money while shopping and gifting.

1. Create a budget and stick to it. In this budget you can create categories within your budget to cover the plans you may have. Food is normally always a part of the get together that I love you can plan ahead what you will need and estimate on what it will cost. I often like to go a bit over budget on groceries because one never knows if the store will unexpectedly raise prices or if there may be something you just cant live without. Another category you may need to plan in your budget is entertainment. If you are hosting what is it that you incorporate to host you guest? At the same time if you are traveling you will need to budget hotel fees, meals if eating on the road, gas and whatever else you may need.

2. Using cash is always a great idea. It may seem easier and if you are getting all you want using credit cards but let me tell you after the holidays that plastic will have to be paid for which may leave you a bit shock and wondering what to do. Using cash allows you to see exactly where your money is going and how much you have left to spend.

3. While using cash it never helps to keep receipts so that you can go back over your purchases at a less stressful time.

4. Use resources while planning your shopping list. Resources such as magazines, catalogs and online may help you find coupons and tips for saving money.

5. Purchasing gift cards is a perfect way to stick on budget and it also allows the receiver to choose what they would use.

6. Some sales appear early and the secret here is to keep your eye open at all times. The item that you are looking for may be on sale prior to the Christmas shopping season. If you know that someone on your list is wanting something specific then you can keep your eyes open at all times.

7. Another great way to shop is by lay away plan or easy payments. This is different from credit cards as there is either no or small interest with this type of arrangement. You can break the payments down over time to purchase the best presents for the ones you love.

8. Shopping used and second hand stores is another grand idea. These type of shops often have either new or nearly new items which can be purchased at a low price and given for gifts. In addition if you have a collector on your list that is looking for items that are not available in retail stores these type of shops carry items at reasonable prices that you can not find here.

9. Hosting dinner for the holidays? To cut down on expenses one idea would be to host a potluck. You can purchase the entrée and guest can bring the side dishes and desserts to go along. Along these same lines is the topic of gifts from the kitchen. In my opinion these types of gifts show how much one cares for another.

10. My last tip has to do with not only saving money, having a great time but also taking a break from the stress and rush of the holiday season. Host a get together with friends on an afternoon. Serve homemade cookies and cocoa which is very inexpensive and catch up on the old times. This is a great way to host a gift exchange.

The great thing about Christmas is that there are times that we all rush around but don't forget to sit down and take a break. Thanks to Office Depot and Twitter Moms for allowing me to share my thoughts on how to have a great time shopping and gift giving for all.

About Office Depot:
Office Depot, Inc. is a global supplier of office products and services. The company was incorporated in 1986 with the opening of our first retail store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In fiscal year 2009, we sold $12.1 billion of products and services to consumers and businesses of all sizes through our three business segments: North American Retail Division, North American Business Solutions Division and International Division. Sales are processed through multiple channels, consisting of office supply stores, a contract sales force, an outbound telephone account management sales force, Internet sites, direct marketing catalogs and call centers, all supported by our network of supply chain facilities and delivery operations.

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“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Office Depot blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 Office Depot gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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