The average consumer could spend more than $800 this year on the holidays, according to the National Retail Federation.
For countless hours, they’ll scan websites and walk around malls to find the perfect gift for their friends and family. But, in many cases, those very same consumers could be saving plenty of money -- and time -- by shopping in a place they may have never considered: Their closets.
If you’re like many Americans, your closets are overflowing with things you don’t need -- or even remember that you have on hand. (You might even have a storage unit you don’t really need).
So, open the doors and start cleaning. If you have these items squirreled away, you could save more than a little money this holiday season.
Office supplies: Extra pencils. A pack of pens. Sealed 3×5 cards. A dozen sticky note pads. A ream of paper -- or five. Sure, they don’t make for exciting Christmas gifts, but they do the job when you’re filling up stockings for tweens, teens and college students -- or your sister who just launched her own business.
Unopened gifts: These days, kids can get so many birthday gifts that they don’t even know what they have. Everybody gives gifts. Grandparents. Aunts and uncles. Siblings. Parents. Plus the dozen friends at the birthday party. And, sometimes, those gifts get pushed to the back of the closet. Years later, parents find sealed board games, untouched activity books and never worn slippers. Clear them out now and re-gift to friends and family this holiday season.
Gift cards: If you’re not careful, these also can pile up and get hidden away. Dig deep through old handbags or wallets to look for unused -- or even mostly used -- gift cards. Who knows, you might find a few dollar bills while you’re at it.
Cash: You could get really lucky and find cash. But, more likely, you could find items that you can sell to earn money and make room for new gifts. Consign used clothes, housewares, and home decor at consignment stores. Consider buy back programs for old electronics. Sell collectible items that no longer hold value for you. Hold a yard sale.
Food: If your pantry is overflowing, consider using those extra cans of pumpkin puree or bags of chocolate chips to make homemade holiday gifts.
Better yet, clean out the cupboards and donate those extra items to a food pantry. You might not save money, but you’ll make the holidays a little brighter for somebody else out there.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit committed to empowering and inspiring consumers nationwide to make wise financial decisions and live debt free. Speak with a certified counselor for a free debt analysis today.
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