Bundle up for savings

Now that the summer heat is (hopefully) gone for good, it’s time to shift gears into the fall and winter months. While you might think summer is the time you spend way too much money, a majority of consumer over-spending is done during the holiday shopping season.

What seems like a no-brainer — spending less money during the holidays — is a lot trickier than it seems. For college students, I’ve compiled a few pointers for making it through to the new year without going bankrupt.

One of the easiest ways to save is to cut out gift-giving while in college. I would hope no one in your family will judge you if you make it clear that you can’t afford any gifts for anyone this year. Unless you obsess over materialistic possessions, I say just bake some cookies and save a few hundred dollars.

If you do end up getting gifts for loved ones, make sure you decide on a total amount, take that out of your bank and pay cash for all of your holiday gifts. By keeping a strict, cash-only budget I guarantee you will spend less money overall.

Adding to this idea, start deciding on this budget early in the year. If you know you want $500 to spend on gifts, save $50 per month starting in January. By the time November rolls around, you’ll have met your goal and not have to put everything on credit cards. Even better, you might decide to skip out on gift giving/ leaving you with your $500 gift budget! This can get you started on a great new year.

So you decide you’re getting gifts and you go shopping. Whatever you do, do as much of it online as possible. It’s okay to go to stores to check out potential items, but online stores usually carry items at discounted prices.

With it being the year 2014, you can use technology to help you out with this. Amazon has a game-changing price checking app that lets you simply scan the bar code of a product. It then shows you how much it is on Amazon.com. For example, you go to Best Buy to try out the new Beats Pill and then go buy it on Amazon for $50 cheaper. Great for the consumer, bad for Best Buy- but that’s their problem! Survival of the most competitive.

So while the temperatures are dropping, your bank account balance shouldn’t do the same. By remembering to buy smart and save smarter, you’ll make it through to 2015 financially fit. Just remember to prepare now so you’re not caught off guard when the season hits!