Get the Most out of Holiday Gift Cards

‘Tis the season for giving gifts – but also getting them. There are great ways to be sure you get the most out of presents from your loved ones, especially when those presents are store-specific gift cards. In the past 10 years, the gift of cash cards has really taken off. Some people dislike giving cash, and these cards seem a little more personal without having to worry about getting someone the wrong game, accessory or size. The Value Department stores and businesses like to push these as gifts because they turn great profits out of them. American shoppers will purchase an estimated $97Billion worth of the cards this year – and if it’s anything like last year, consumers will leave approximately $9Billion USD on the cards. You read that right. $9,000,000,000. All of that is from people who lose their cards, forget about them, or simply leave a dollar or two on the balance. Don’t be part of that $9 billion; keep track of the amount on the card and where the things are! The Fine Print Be sure you know if/when the card will expire and if there are any ‘activation fees’. That will

Getting Ready for Christmas 2011

No, that’s not a misprint. This season is the perfect time to think about saving some cash for next year. As you roll through this holiday season, think about making some purchases that will save you money in the long run. When you keep your eyes out for these deals, you will have a little extra for savings or holiday splurges. Bulk Up If you buy 3 rolls of wrapping paper, do you get 1 free? Wrapping paper, bows, cardstock and tape aren’t going to expire. If you have some space to keep them, it’s always worthwhile grabbing a few extras to tide you over for the next season. You can also use the bulk process with friends and family as well. Everyone getting together for the holidays? Use the same paper. My sister and I have a tradition of wrapping presents together on Christmas Eve (because we’re usually last-minute shoppers). Because of this, I’ll usually pick up paper, she’ll get gift bags and we split the costs. Recycle, Not Re-gift Whenever I receive a present in a gift bag, it’s like getting 2 gifts. I take the gift bag and slide it

Black Friday – Are the Savings Legit?

We all know that the Christmas shopping season is just around the corner – and if you’ve been smart with our cash and time, you might have already started saving and buying. If you are like most people – and I bet you are – Black Friday marks the beginning of the shopping madness as we scramble to get gifts. As you know, Black Friday is the ‘start of the Christmas shopping season’ and falls on the Friday after American Thanksgiving. Up in Canada, we may have had Thanksgiving a month ago, but we’re ready for the deals now. Retailers will be rolling out their best sales for what’s traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Are They Deals You Want? Are you going to get in on the action and start your shopping? Be sure you listen to our previous thoughts on coupons and how that relates to sales. Remember, a sale is only a good deal if you are going to save money on something you’d want anyways. Make Your List, Check it Twice Like anything with cash, some pre-planning helps. Know your budget and gift list before hitting the mall or net. Don’

Inexpensive Holiday Gifts That People Love & Will Save You Cash

The holiday season is right around the corner and it will soon be time to start picking up gifts for your friends and loved ones. We already showed you how to start saving up for Christmas presents so now it’s time to pull the trigger and actually get the gifts. You can absolutely keep your costs down and still bring some great holiday cheer. With a bit of thriftiness, creativity and effort, your gifts will mean a lot to the recipients without busting your holiday budget. Use these tips as a jumping-point to start your holiday shopping. Keep It Personal Photos, scrapbooks and anything that reminds that special someone of you will mean a lot more than an expensive gift. For example, two years ago, I got my fiancé an empty photo album… stick with me. The point of the gift is for us to put one photo/year into the album and it will grow over time. It was a $20 gift that should last a lifetime. Cooking/Baking (no fruitcakes!) I love eating around the holiday season – and I’m sure you do too. With so many parties and events to attend, consumable presents are an easy

It’s That Time of Year…to Start Your Christmas Savings

I guess we probably should have told you about this earlier, but the December holiday season is right around the corner. If you haven’t started saving for it, now is definitely the time. Any savings you can make ahead of time can really help out with your holiday budgeting. For me, it always seems like the cost of presents, holiday parties, flights and even wrapping paper come out of the blue. We’ve said it before (and I’m sure we’ll say it again) more planning with your money will make things easier later. This doesn’t mean setting up crazy budgets and accounting for every cent of your cash – simply make a few smart decisions now and reap the benefits for important things. Save Slowly, Spent Smartly Do you have an extra $40 each month? If you can save that during the entire year, you will have $480 after 12 months. That seems like a lot of money for December, and not a lot of money each month – that’s a no brainer. With most online bank accounts you can even take the hard work out of it and automate the process. Each month, when you get