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Squeeze the budget now so you can spend a little more this holiday season

Now that summer's almost over and school is starting, many folks are beginning to think about planning for holiday spending. Here are some things you can do to get control of your budget and save some money – money you can use to be sure Santa is extra-good to you this year.

• Use a budget planner. If you notice that you are spending money on things that are not necessary or that you always seem to have more month than money, you may want to seek the services of a professional. Getting an objective viewpoint is bound to be helpful and could put your budget back online.

• Carry out a financial health check. If you find that you constantly struggle with paying your bills, consider getting some advice on how to manage debt. The sooner you deal with any debt you have, the easier it may be to resolve the problem and get out of debt.

• Save energy and get healthier. There are a number of options in this area. Start with using your car less, especially when it is viable to walk instead. Cooking at home instead of eating out can also save a lot of money and keep you fit. And with current energy prices as high as they are, taking short showers instead of a bath, and using energy-saving lightbulbs can save you a lot on your electric bill.

• Use price comparison Web sites. You could save hundreds by simply shopping online for the best deals. Shop for caparisons on everything from car insurance to clothing to items for your home. Look for cash back deals also.

• Watch for special deals at the supermarket and buy in bulk whenever you can. Markets often compete for your business and offer great deals on certain items; check the labels to see if there are any deals offered. Also check for discounts on perishable items. It helps to be flexible about what you buy, as some items are sold for a fraction of their original price when they are close to their sell-by date.

By cutting corners and tightening your belt a little now, you can be sure you'll have a holly, jolly Christmas.

Published Aug 19 2010, 01:19 PM by moneycoach
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