Holiday spending help with H&R Block’s Emerald Advance ($300 Mastercard Gift Card Giveaway) #HRBlockLoan

Most every family I know has been affected by the state of the economy.  I know that we all seem to feel the “pull” on the purse strings this time of year, with wanting to give something special to everyone on our list for the holidays- but we don’t always have the means to do so.

Have a plan. Make a list. If it’s a budget you have, or a list of items, have it with you so you can follow it- and stick to it.  Stores KNOW we are weak, and they market to our weaknesses…all of those adorable little holiday themed anythings at the end of aisles, and taunting us while we wait for our turn to check out…all of those little things add up fast.  That extra $20 or so you throw in for the adorable or fun factor would serve you a lot better to splurge for a babysitter for an hour, or to put towards a vacation fund.  Make that list, check it twice (Santa even checks it twice) and stick to it!  If you find something that you really think is marvelous, think about it for a while, don’t just purchase it.

Check for sales– I know this seems like a no-brainer- but I was just this morning set to head out and get that one last item on my gift list  and did a quick google search for it.  Guess what was $11 cheaper on than I’d have paid in store- AND I won’t have to pay shipping – or gas to drive to the store for.  Not everything will be less online but it definitely pay off to look around a bit if you can.

Take advantage of Price Matching– SO many stores are price matching identical items that competitors are selling.  What does this mean for us?  Well, if you bring that circular to the store (or circulars, for multiple items), you’ll probably take a bit longer at checkout, but you’re also eliminating the need for stopping at multiple stores…and the temptation of add-on items near registers at the other stores you won’t be shopping in.  I’m the guiltiest person of add-on items- I see it and think “that would be so cute for their stockings!” and voila, I’ve got that item times THREE in my cart….none of which I’d planned to purchase.  (Which is really a lead in for my next tip:)

Stick to your list.  You have a list of ideas or simply a budget to stick to- so stick to it.  Those add-ons and impulse buys ADD UP FAST and it really, really pays to stop and think before buying.  Do my kids need more chapsticks?  No, they do not.  No matter how cute all of the 3pack sets are in cute candy and character flavors.  But adding 3 3-packs to my cart means adding $4.99+ 6% tax TIMES THREE to my spending, and when you look at it that way, the chapstick we have here at home already will do just fine, thankyouverymuch.

Ultimately, there really isn’t a gift worth going into debt for.  Plan ahead for holiday shopping if you can.  Even a few dollars a week all year adds up.  In a pinch, H&R Block’s Emerald Advance could come in handy- but I encourage you to stick to your budget even if you DO use the program!

You can learn all about  H&R Block Emerald Advance, including the application process and where to find a retailer near your home.
· Starting November 19th, apply to get up to $1000 cash in time for the holidays

· All you need to apply is a valid photo ID and your most recent pay stub (no W2 form required!)

· You don’t already need to be an H&R Block client to apply

H&R block mastercard giveaway

One reader will win a $300 Mastercard Gift Card! 

To Enter: Leave a comment telling me how you shop for holiday gifts- are you a planner? Do you have a strict budget?

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This giveaway will end on December 19th, 2012 at 11:59pm EST.

· H&R Block provided me with the $300 gift card to give away. The prize was provided and may be shipped to the winner by H&R Block, but H&R Block is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of H&R Block. Entrants must be 18 or older and located in the US only. Winner to be chosen at random.

About the author: I’m a 30-something mom to three, brand ambassador. content creator, social media maven, blogger extraordinaire, earth lover, butcher, baker, candlestick maker (or something along those lines) – love word games, crafting, cake decorating or shooting pictures.

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  • I like H&R Block on Facebook as Mary Happymommy.

  • I follow you on Twitter–mami2jcn

  • I create a wish list and slowly go through it for several months. Whenever I see an item on sale, I buy it.

  • follow you on pinterest as jbmthill

  • like H&R on facebook

  • like you on facebook

  • follow you on twitter as @jbmthill

  • I am a planner, I have to know what I am going to buy before I go out to shop! I make a list way ahead of time and look thru catalogs for ideas. I have a budget for each person and/or family that I buy for.

  • i follow you on pinterest

  • I like you on FB

  • i follow you on twitter!

  • I am a planner. And I like to be done by December!

  • I don’t have a strict budget, but I know what I should and should not buy. I choose I gift for everyone, buy that, and then just buy whatever strikes my fancy! :)

  • I also have to ‘times it by 3’, so i try to stock stuffers3-4 wks before xmas, put them in a bsg and put them away – that way I know I am done & do not get caught up in last minute endulgences for stockings. I already know I have enough.

    I follow you on twitter, my handle is: ellejames8

  • I fpllowed Brett Martin on Pinterest

  • I followed This Mama Loves Her Bargains on facebook

  • I followed H&R Blck on facebook

  • I followed on Twitter @monsterwelch1

  • We usually spend too much on gifts forvthe holidays. I definitely plan out what we’re going to purchase, but you’re absolutely right about those little things. They add up quickly, and most are unnecessary.
    This year we are buying a house for Christmas! The best thing we could have ever done for our kids! So thrre is no monry left over for other presents.

  • twitter follower @sunshyne1977

  • I’m a new follower :) And I am definitely a planner! I really like making homemade gifts too. :)

  • Pinterest follower

  • like you on facebook(where i saw the announcement for this!)

  • I enter giveaways all over social media,save up points/survey cash and cash everything out in October/November. Most Christmas this year is free thank goodness!

  • I’m a fan of yours on Facebook!
    Jessica Zaluski

  • I follow you on twitter! JEZALx0

  • we have a super strict budget but we make it work 1 paycheck at a time

  • Left a comment on the corn muffin recipe (yum!)

  • I follow you on Pinterest!

  • I like h&r block on Facebook!

  • I like you on Facebook!

  • I always make a strict budget. First, I decide how much I’m going to spend total. Then, I write down the names of all the friends and family that I need to buy gifts for, including an “other” category in case I accidentally forgot anyone. Then, I distribute the money that I budgeted throughout everyone on my list. I make sure not to go over $5 extra for everyone that I’m buying for, and if I happen to find good deals and spend less … EVEN BETTER! :-) I also make sure I write down the gifts and how much they cost on my list as I purchase them.

  • I like you on Facebook!

  • I shop all year long for Christmas!

  • I am not strict. I watch the prices and get the lowest one. I try to get everything done soon though.

  • I have to plan since I am on a VERY strict budget this year. With me being the only income (part time work). I am only able to buy one toy for my boys this year. But it’s all ok because we are all going to be together =)

  • Yes, I plan and I usually go a little over budget.

  • This holiday I have to be frugal savvy and a planner. Being in strict budget this year and having to buy gifts for all the small kids 8 kids in our immediate family, I’m hunting and bargaining for all the gifts! Wish me luck lol :)

  • I shop according to the person I am buying for. I do not plan.

  • I use site first and then shop from that. I try to utilize stacking coupons at places like Target and using my CVS Rewards bucks as a way to purchase gifts .. this really helps me stretch that dollar.

  • I use all the deal and coupon websites to help plan my holiday shopping. I do have a budget and stick to it. Cash back websites help with extra savings, and coordinating my shopping with credit card offers for extra cash back saves me even more. Of course, the balance is paid in full every month!

  • I try to plan ahead – price comparisons and shopping clearance helps a LOT! We usually have a pretty strict budget. Still, a $300 GC would do wonders for our holiday budget this year.

  • I like H&R Block on Facebook – Andrea Darst

  • I am a last minute person, usually get gift cards!

  • I follow on Twitter – @adarst213

  • I’m a planner and always try to stick to our budget, especially since I’m the only one working in our house (2 jobs)