Shopping with student loan debt this season? Holiday gift buying is stressful enough, but adding in your monthly student loan payments can potentially break the budget if you’re not careful. So what can you do to stretch your holiday dollar? Well, LOTS! Check out our top 10 ways to save in Docupop’s 2017 holiday budget boost breakdown!

1.) Make a list & check it twice Write down exactly who you plan to buy gifts for, the amount you can afford to spend on each, and the precise gift(s) you plan to buy them that is within that budget BEFORE you shop! Browsing around aimlessly at the mall or online is a sure-fire recipe for impulse buys! All of those, “oh it’s just a few dollars more,” or “but he would look so cute in this,” can really add up. Make a list, write it down and stick to it!

2.) Travel savvy If your family get-togethers are flexible, try to fly in or out of town on Christmas Day. Even though it’s not ideal, traveling on the actual holiday versus a few days before or after could save you hundreds! Using your points, comparing airline prices, dealing with a layover instead of a non-stop flight and booking on Tuesdays are also great tips if you’re looking for the cheapest airfare.

3.) Get a student loan check-up! If you need more cash now, third party pros like Docupop can help you find & accurately apply for a consolidation and/or repayment plan offered by the DOE with a LOWER monthly student loan payment for those who qualify! Already consolidated but still struggling? You may qualify for a new or different repayment program that fits your current budget better than your old one (especially if your income has since decreased). You can always give your friendly Docupop Member Success Representative a call at (866) 884-5021 or simply click below to see how low your payment can go!

4.) Create with crafts! Why spend tons of money when you can give personalized, sentimental gifts from the heart almost free of charge! And here’s the secret, you don’t even have to be craft-savvy to make a HUGE impact! Here’s an idea: make fudge or caramel dipped marshmallows in bulk; this can really stretch your dollar and the number of people you can give to this year. Find an easy recipe online, buy a few holiday themed baggies and then – boom, you have tasty gifts to give to dozens of family members, co-workers or even your kid’s teachers. Not too handy in the kitchen? Try printing out a family photo and pair it with a cute frame (you can buy these on clearance for $5) and your mom, dad, nanna, whoever will go chestNUTS!

5.) Big family? How about secret santa? Have more cousins than you can count? It might be a good idea for you and your family to do a secret santa this year instead of trying to juggle in 30+ gifts. Draw names out of a hat, set a spending limit that EVERYONE (not just uncle fancy pants who just got promoted to the corner office) is ok with. This way you can each buy one gift instead of dozens.

6.) Shop around Once you make your list (a la tip #1) you can then shop around to find the best deal BEFORE you make a purchase! Look online for special promo codes, deals and ads that match the products you’re looking for, compare and then buy based on the best offer.

7.) Check out Worthyy To maximize tip #6, you can check out our preferred partners over at Worthyy. If you’re a Premium DocuPop  member, you have full access to – which offers tons of money saving tips, coupons and budgeting tools to make the most out of your money. Have a present in mind? Click around Worthyy to see if they have a coupon to match!

8.) Use debit NOT credit! We know, using those “I’ll pay it off next month,” credit cards sure is tempting; especially around the holidays. If you can, take cash or use debit instead of high-interest credit cards. This can save you tons of money in the long run and most importantly, keep you out of debt!

9.) Buy in bulk If you have several people to shop for this year, try buying in bulk. Many times, restaurants will offer deals giving you X amount of dollars in gift cards for yourself if you spend a certain amount of money on purchasing them for others. You can divide these up for a few people and either keep the bonus for yourself or use it as another gift. Socks are another great item to use this trick for. You can get a set of 12 socks (with cute themes of course) and give them out to various people instead of just one.

10.) Plan ahead… you’re 365 days away from a do-over! Utilize after the holiday sales!!! Make a note of what might have been missing this year (more lights, more wrapping paper, holiday plates etc.) and buy them the day AFTER Christmas! Stores typically offer giant deals after the holidays to get rid of the extra inventory. 30%, 50% and even 75% off holiday merchandise is very common, so plan ahead to make next year even more magical than this one! We hope this list helps you and yours have a very Happy Holiday; even with that stubborn student loan debt hanging around.

Disclaimer: Docupop is a private company, not affiliated with the Department of Education. The DOE offers several programs that may offer lower monthly loan payments for borrowers who meet the qualifications based on income and family size. Lower monthly payments may lead to longer student loan maturity periods, increasing the total amount of interest over the life of the loan. The DOE also offers programs that may forgive some or all of the borrower’s loan balance. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) is based on the number of qualified payments made under the program while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Other programs require a specific number of qualifying payments and then forgive the remaining balance once those payments are completed, without any public service obligation. Depending on the type of forgiveness, any amounts forgiven may be treated as taxable income for income tax purposes, please consult your tax professional. More information can be found on the DOE website: *Links to third-party web sites are provided for convenience only. Docupop does not endorse nor support the content of third-party links. Docupop is not responsible for the content of a third-party website. By clicking on a third-party link, you will leave the Docupop website. Privacy and security policies may differ from those practiced by Docupop.

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