Business & Finance

Franklin Finance: 5 Tips on Saving Money During The Holiday Season

8afea91e813e8fabed9c_untitled__15_of_20_-14_pp_11W.jpg
Carletta O. Beckwith, CPA
8afea91e813e8fabed9c_untitled__15_of_20_-14_pp_11W.jpg

Tis the Season.  As many flock to the stores to purchase the latest gadgets for their families in celebration of the upcoming holidays, let’s not forget the reason the season.  The holidays present a unique time when families can gather together in one place and spend quality time with one another.  The memories that are created during this time will be remembered for a lifetime.  Therefore, it is more the presence versus the presents that should be the focus.  However, if you find yourself rushing to the stores to shop for your loved ones, keep these 5 tips in mind.

1. Create and Stick to a Holiday Budget- Set it and don’t forget it.  Establish spending limits that you can safely apply toward holiday spending.  Only spend after you pay all your bills and other obligations.  Once your holiday budget is exhausted, you must be disciplined to stop spending.  Don’t get lured into the last-minute sales and drive-bys to the mall.  All sales are not created equal and sometimes a sale is NOT REALLY a sale.  Check online websites, check cost comparison sites, use coupon codes, and use rebate sites to help you save money.  The best deals are really after the holiday season in January when everything is marked down up to 80% off!!

I recently went shopping at a major retailer and was about to purchase a dress coat for my daughter for $84, I also had a coupon for 20% off.  The coat was originally priced at $130, so after the coupon I would have paid $67.20 ($84*.80=$67.20), not bad for a designer coat.  However, I decided to check the online price while in the store and to my dismay, the coat was marked down to $51.99, $32.01 ($84-$51.99=$32.01) cheaper than the $84 price in the store.  When I got to the register, I informed the cashier about the price disparity and she honored the lower price.  Yippy! So, recall I had a 20% off coupon, so I purchased the coat for $41.59 ($51.99*.80 = $41.59), a coat that was originally priced at $130, and one that I could have purchased in stores for $67.20.  Due to my savvy shopping ways, I was able to save an additional $25.61 ($67.20 - $41.59 =$25.61) just for surfing the internet in the store!!

Sign Up for E-News

Save yourself the stress of waking up with credit card debt that you are stuck paying off throughout the following the year.Make your expenditures from your debit card that is linked to your bank account.

Keep in mind that when establishing your budget, you want to write down a list of all the people you will purchase gifts for and the amount you will spend on each person.Be sure to include a budget for decorations, parties, holiday travel, and charitable giving.If you have a budget from last year, you can use it as a guide when setting your budget this year.

One thing we do know, is that the holidays come around the same time every year.Therefore, you can get a head start for next holiday season by saving money throughout the year for the holidays and purchasing gifts throughout the year.

2. Establish a Dedicated Bank Account – Creating a bank account just for holiday purchases will do many things: help you track your expenses and keep you within your budget, keep you out of debt, and ensure that you are not spending money allocated to other day to day expenses and obligations.

3. Cut Back on Day to Day Spending – We all like to splurge on something from time to time.  If you are dealing with a limited holiday budget, you may want to consider cutting back on the extra indulgences such as the overpriced lunches, eating-out,  entertainment, and some other FUN items.   If you would ordinarily spend $500 a month for eating out, consider spending $300 and using the extra $200 toward the Christmas budget.  Same goes for spending on entertainment, if you would ordinarily spend $400 on entertainment, consider spending $150 and allocating the remaining $250 toward the Christmas budget.  You can get creative and slice and dice as many budgets items that you have.  The idea is to identify and reduce existing budget items to accommodate for the larger spending during the holidays.

4. Secret Santa – We have used this method over the years as I have many siblings and when you add the nieces and nephews, we are up to a family of about 20.  We decided that each person would just purchase one gift with a set dollar cap and exchange it during the holidays. This has been a great budget saver to our family.

5. Give the Gift of Giving – Consider eliminating many of the high-ticket items or not gifting in the traditional sense at all and donating your time.  Sometimes a gift does not have to be lavish and expensive.  Something that you create from your heart can be just as rewarding and sometimes more rewarding.  Consider making a craft item or keepsake and giving them to your loved ones.  Or if you bake, consider making a cake or some pastries that you know your family will enjoy.  Consider helping those in need during the holiday season and donating your time organizing a coat drive, donating to the local foodbank, serving at a soup kitchen, or simply donating items from your household.

Happy Shopping!!!

Carletta Beckwith CPA LLC is a firm that provides premiere income tax preparation, tax planning, and financial planning services. Carletta Beckwith is a licensed CPA and CFP® and shares her extensive industry knowledge to deliver superior customer service and personalized attention to her clients.  To learn more about the services she provides visit www.beckwithcpa.com or email info@beckwithcpa.com.

IRS Circular 230 disclosure: Any tax advice included in this written or electronic communication was not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the taxpayer, for avoiding any penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer by any governmental taxing authority or agency. 

Disclaimer: Nothing in this document should be relied on and you should seek professional advice if you need tax information or advice.  This publication should not be a substitution for personal tax advice as every tax situation is different.  You should obtain personal tax advice from a Certified Public Accountant or other tax professional to address your specific tax needs.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 16, 2018

TRENTON, NJ - The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in New Jersey, leading to chronic lung disease, heart disease, stroke and cancer,” said New Jersey Human ...

New Brunswick Battles Hunger with Largest Food Pantry Network in County

July 17, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Rev. Douglas Shepler became pastor of New Brunswick's Second Reformed in April 2008 and by October had a food pantry running that quickly attracted people in need, including Rutgers University students.

“We had graduate students coming to us and they had a choice of paying their rent or paying for food,” Shepler said. However, those students ...

Viewing Date Set for 1-Year-Old Boy Killed in July 7 Crash in Raritan

RARITAN, NJ - A viewing for the 1-year-old Raritan boy killed on Anderson Street July 7 will be held this week at St. Ann Church, in Raritan, according to an obituary released by the Bongiovi Funeral Home.

Matias Ortega-Rosales was killed on the evening of his first birthday when a vehicle hit two cars and then his family as he was being pushed in a stroller by his mother, Domitila Rosales.

South Plainfield Police Investigators Seek Public’s Help in Fatal Crash

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutors Office are looking for the public’s help in the July 4, 2018 fatal motorcycle accident that killed 28 year-old Jessica Montes of Piscataway.

According to police, the accident occurred at approximately 4:50am as the vehicle Montes was a passenger lost control and crashed on New Brunswick ...

Tee times, Pairings Announced for Start of Next Week’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Baltusrol GC in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – The USGA U.S. Junior Amateur Championship starts Monday.  The pairings for the first two rounds of the 71st edition were recently announced.

Monday (July 16) and Tuesday (July 17) tee times will be played on the 7,280-yard, par-71 Upper Course and at the 7,313-yard, par-70 Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club.

Monday, Tuesday tee times & pairings

The ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

New Restaurant Buys ‘Pocketed’ Westfield Liquor License

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield’s town council approved the transfer of a liquor license to Westfield Hospitality LLC for its Westfield Fish & Brew Company during the council's meeting Tuesday night. The license had been bought from Jeffrey’s when it closed in 2014 and remained unused, or “pocketed,” by that owner until now.

Though the restaurant does not ...

New Brunswick Battles Hunger with Largest Food Pantry Network in County

July 17, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Rev. Douglas Shepler became pastor of New Brunswick's Second Reformed in April 2008 and by October had a food pantry running that quickly attracted people in need, including Rutgers University students.

“We had graduate students coming to us and they had a choice of paying their rent or paying for food,” Shepler said. However, those students ...

Viewing Date Set for 1-Year-Old Boy Killed in July 7 Crash in Raritan

RARITAN, NJ - A viewing for the 1-year-old Raritan boy killed on Anderson Street July 7 will be held this week at St. Ann Church, in Raritan, according to an obituary released by the Bongiovi Funeral Home.

Matias Ortega-Rosales was killed on the evening of his first birthday when a vehicle hit two cars and then his family as he was being pushed in a stroller by his mother, Domitila Rosales.

South Plainfield Police Investigators Seek Public’s Help in Fatal Crash

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutors Office are looking for the public’s help in the July 4, 2018 fatal motorcycle accident that killed 28 year-old Jessica Montes of Piscataway.

According to police, the accident occurred at approximately 4:50am as the vehicle Montes was a passenger lost control and crashed on New Brunswick ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 13, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...

"Xtreme" Adventures for Teens in Somerset County

BASKING RIDGE, NJ – The Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center  has scheduled a challenging summer program series for teens 13 to 16.

“Xtreme Adventure” is a summer-long series of one-day outdoor programs that will entertain and educate teen girls and boys. All adventures begin at the Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Stirling ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 13, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.