To Help You Get a Better Value For Your Dollar,
Here Are Ten Holiday Spending Tips
Home Tell a Friend! Contact ICFE Link Exchange Search ICFE Subscribe ICFE About the ICFE
ICFE News Releases ICFE in the News Children and Money Financial Education Personal Financial Counseling with Paul S. Richard, RFC Credit Card Tips Credit File Correction Mending Spending Links and Resources Order Options

To Help You Get a Better Value For Your Dollar,
Here Are Ten Holiday Spending Tips

San Diego, CA -  Overspending takes on many forms. It is absolutely rampant during the holiday gift-buying season. The most common form of overspending is not spending more money than one earns or has in savings and relying heavily on borrowing, as many people might suspect. No, the most common form of overspending is simply paying too much for things. Consumers who do not take the time to comparison shop usually end up paying about 20 to 30% more, over the long term, for goods and services than those who do.

Paying too much for things is most often done by individuals and families at the grocery stores. Some 30 cents, on average, of every take-home dollar is spent on household and grocery items. If someone needs to make an immediate impact on their spending-plan for household and grocery items, begin by looking over the sale flyers, making a list, checking it twice, and then utilize coupons wherever possible.

Not too many of America's John and Sue Workhards are developing a strong, healthy resistance to seductive appeals to spend more money than they may have planned for gift giving season. Because it is the Christmas holidays, it seems to be especially hard for some people not to overspend, many citing an emotional need to express love, appreciation and friendship.
Developing better spending techniques is one way people can help eliminate impulse buying, overspending and keep from getting all charged-up. Here are some useful spending tips and ideas for holiday shoppers to help you get a better value for your dollars.
1) Create a written plan for holiday spending and gift giving. Include your gift list, possible gifts, dollar amounts, where the items  might be on sale and include some alternative choices.

2) Establish spending limits for gifts for each person on your list and start looking for bargains early.

3) If it has been a challenging year financially, shrink your holiday gift list. Begin by talking with those family members and close friends you may exchange gifts with, perhaps suggesting not exchanging gifts this year or mutually observing much lower dollar-limits on gifts that you do exchange.

4) Separate shopping trips (when comparing prices, quality, value, etc.) from spending trips (when actually making a purchase). On the shopping part of the trips, resist taking cash, debit or credit cards, or a checkbook. This will help minimize temptation and impulse purchases.

5) Watch for those sales! Look over the advertising and sale flyers for items you intend to purchase. Go-online and look for special coupons or rebates.

6) Ask retailers when the items you are interested in buying are coming on sale. Most retailers will reveal sale dates because they don't want you to shop their competition.

7) Spend cash and avoid using credit cards. Charge cards tend to promote indiscriminate spending. Credit card users often say they had no idea how much they spent on the holidays until the credit card bills arrive in January or February of the next year. Be very careful also about stores that offer extra discounts to customers who sign-up for a store charge card at the time of purchase. They do this for a reason. The studies show customers who have a store charge card will visit the store twice as often as a cash buyer, will spend twice as much as a cash buyer and will make twice as many transactions as a cash buyer.

8) Liquidators, buying clubs, and factory outlet stores usually offer larger quantity packaging for somewhat lower prices. Bulk buying with other family members or friends yields savings.

9) Giving a gift on New Year's Day can also be very special. You can really take advantage of all those after Christmas sales and give someone a gift to begin the new year.

10) Make more of your gifts at home. A freshly baked loaf of bread, cookies, and desserts are always appreciated. Also arts, crafts, needle-work, or create a collage of photographs of the family, which will make a wonderful gift that will be cherished too.
The holidays are much more enjoyable when the expenses don't exceed what has been planned for and there has been no credit-based gifting. There are others who do go into debt for gifts who report it often takes them the entire following year to pay it all off, ultimately resulting in more costly gifts because of interest and carrying charges. Holidays are happiest and also perhaps less costly when they are on a pay-as-you-go basis.

The ICFE's Web site at has many more helpful spending tips and worksheets for setting up a one-page spending, too.   

About the ICFE:

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation).  The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. 
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.

The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (  CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed.  In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the ( web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.

The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much.  ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.

Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: and  Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G,  a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.

Home ] ICFE News Releases ] ICFE in the News ] Children and Money ] Financial Education ] Resource Center ] Credit Card Tips ][ Credit File Correction ] Mending Spending ] Links and Resources ]  [ Online Store ]


Copyright ©  1997 - by Paul S. Richard
and the Institute of Consumer Financial Education, All Rights Reserved.
View our
Privacy Policy Our Terms and Conditions

Institute of Consumer Financial Education
PO Box 34070
San Diego, Ca 92163
Paul S. Richard, Executive Director
Phone 619-239-1401

FAX 619-923-3284

Questions for Click to go to Website Contact Us or 
Website Design Donated by Desgn School Programs