NEW YORK - How much is the average shopper going to spend on holiday gifts this year? Would you believe $967.13? That projection, by the National Retail Federation, is the highest amount ever, up nearly 4 percent from last year.
So with Black Friday just three weeks away, saving that amount might be out of the question. But what you may not know is the money for all those gifts may be under your roof right now.
The first tip is to sell your unwanted items. Start with clothes and electronics. For clothes, target the trendiest "gently used" items. And use websites like ThreadUp.com.
For electronics, the biggest tip is don't wait to sell. Electronics are like cars, they depreciate with age. So that means you could turn last year's iPhone into this year's gift for your kid's teacher.
Next, redeem credit card rewards. You could have thousands of points just sitting around, and some even expire. This is an easy way to turn them into merchandise or gift cards.
Third, look for unused gift cards. We all have them, but how much is out there unspent?
"Since 2005, there is $45.7 billion goes unused on gift cards," consumer spending expert Andrea Woroch said.
But perhaps the biggest tip to saving money is to avoid spending it. That means avoiding impulse buys.
For the next two months, go with the "24-hour rule." That means if you have an impulse to buy, don't spend. Instead, wait a full day. If you still think you need it, buy. But more often than not, the urge will pass. Happy saving and remember, it's only three weeks to Black Friday.
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