Save at Holiday Time

By making smart choices, you can have a joyful season without overspending



Holly bedecks the door, the air is brisk and the credit-card slips are beginning to fly. But beware: Amid the holiday hubbub it’s easy to spend too much. Fortunately, you needn’t be a Scrooge to make the season walletfriendly. Just heed seven practical tips:

1 Create a budget.

“Decide how much you can afford to spend for the holiday season, whether it’s $10,000 or $100,” says Michael Maglio, a financial consultant with Midland Park–based Investment Services at Atlantic Stewardship Bank. “Write down all the things you’d like to include—gifts, cards and postage, decorations, charitable contributions, entertaining and holiday travel or clothing purchases. Make realistic cost estimates for each category, including gifts for each family member. Then, if necessary, whittle down your list or your allocated amounts until the total fits your desired figure. Leave a small margin for the unexpected. Then stick with that budget.”

2 Make mid-course corrections.

Even when the season is well under way, you can take a fresh look and trim spending if it runs too high. Does Uncle Arthur really need a silk tie and a bottle of Chivas? You could give the tie and save the Scotch for a party. And what about that pricey group excursion to a football game—could a well-supplied bash in front of your TV at game time create the same convivial spirit with less red ink?

3 Know your shopping style.

You may read savings recommendations that conflict, like “Set cash aside and stop when it runs out” and “Shop online to earn rewards points.” But the best advice is to know your shopping pattern and what helps you limit spending. For some of us, the computer is a danger zone—it’s easy to go overboard clicking those keys, whereas if we tote heavy bags home from the mall we feel what we’ve spent. On the other hand, says Maglio, “If you shop early online, you can often get good prices and free shipping, or at least a bargain rate.” You may also score bargains or coupons by “liking” merchants on Facebook, visiting sites such as fatwallet.com and ebates.com or checking for the “Deal of the Day” on newegg.com or amazon.com.

4 Be creative.

Does a family member excel in an art or craft? A handmade gift or card is more personal than a purchased gift as well as more economical. Strings of popcorn for the tree can be cheaper than store-bought decorations, and are fun to make together and better conversation-starters for guests. And instead of a costly coffee-table book, might neighbors and co-workers be just as happy with a fresh batch from your family’s favorite cookie recipe?

5 Give up the giving “arms race.”

Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa aren’t about keeping up with the Joneses—even if you’re a Jones. If your tribe competes in gift-giving generosity, declare a truce, and agree to set spending sights lower or establish a “secret Santa” plan rather than buying for everyone. Even if you’re doing fine financially, there may be an unemployed or underemployed relative who’d appreciate a mutual easing of gift expectations.

6 Dine out judiciously.

Restaurant tabs have a way of soaring, especially in groups of thirsty, impulse-driven holiday revelers. Plan ahead when you eat out, doing online research to pick a good place, and consider having guests over for pre-dinner drinks instead of running up a cocktail bill from the bar.

7 Start now to save for next year.

While holidays are top of mind, why not begin making good decisions for 2013’s festive season? Now, for example, is the time to sign up if your bank or credit union offers a Holiday Club or Christmas Club, to which you can direct automatic payroll deductions throughout the year. “Such a program can be a useful savings tool,” says Maglio, “especially for people who don’t have enough flexibility in their income stream to finance holiday spending all at once without tapping credit.”

 

Related Read: Charitable Giving- Funds to Feel Good About

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February 2020

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
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Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
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East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
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Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
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Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
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The sudden loss this past fall of the iconic pianist Harold Mabern was felt perhaps nowhere else more than the halls of William Paterson’s jazz program, where he taught for 39 years and had a...

Cost: $8-$15

Where:
William Paterson University Shea Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
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Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
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East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
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Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

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Join us for partially guided meditations every Monday afternoon from 1:10-1:45pm. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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Sponsor: Krame Center
Telephone: 201-684-6855
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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Show More...
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East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Join us for partially guided meditations on Wednesday evenings. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and practice in community....

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Contact Name: Vijosa Hoxha
Website »

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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Join us for partially guided meditations every Monday afternoon from 1:10-1:45pm. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Contact Name: Vijosa Hoxha
Website »

More information

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Paramus, NJ  07652
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Sponsor: Bergen Community College
Telephone: 201-447-7428
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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

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Cost: $24-30

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Berrie Center for the Arts
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505 Ramapo Valley Rd.
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Sponsor: Ramapo College of NJ
Telephone: 201-684-7844
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Cost: $35, $25 (Seniors), $5 (Students)

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Sponsor: Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 973-435-7057
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Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

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San Jose Taiko’s distinct performance style blends traditional rhythms of Japanese drumming with the beat of world rhythms, including African, Brazilian, Filipino, Latin and Jazz. Known for...

Cost: $20-$25

Where:
William Paterson University Shea Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
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Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
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