Anchor Intro: The holiday season is now in gear, although maybe not high gear. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American will be spending about $830 on holiday shopping this year, up only 2 percent from last year. But there are ways you can stretch that gift dollar. Bankrate.com has some tips.
SOT: "I have a lot of people to buy for. I have a big family -- there's eight of us. Just brothers and sisters -- 32 people. So, I'd say I'm going to try to stay around 2,000."
Voice over 1: Playing Santa is an expensive hobby. But there are simple ideas you can use all year round to reduce both expense and your stress.
Voice over 2: First advice? Make a budget. Decide how much to spend, divide it among the people you're shopping for, and stick to it. And cross yourself off. The National Retail Federation says the average person spends close to a hundred bucks on themselves while holiday shopping.
Voice over 3: Next, if you use a credit card that offers a cash-back reward, now could be a great time to cash in. And some cards offer double cash with select retailers, so a $20 reward could turn into a $40 gift certificate.
Voice over 4: Use the Internet to comparison shop. Even if you don't buy online, you can use it to see if local merchants will compete with the prices you find.
Voice over 5: Did you get gift cards last year that you haven't used up? Maybe it's time for you to turn them into a gift for somebody else.
Voice over 6: And use imagination instead of cash. What kid wouldn't like to receive a get-out-of punishment free card?
SOT: "It's a nice gesture to try to turn things around a little bit so it's more from the heart than from the pocket."
Standup: Bottom line? The way to save money all year long is to do what Santa does: Make a list, check it twice. Use your imagination instead of your money. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.