November 15, 2011 08:06 ET How to Save $500 Before First Holiday Credit Card Due

Little Savings on Lots of Items Can Help Families Enjoy the Holidays While Avoiding Late Fees, Interest or Additional Debt

SAN MATEO, CA--(Marketwire - Nov 15, 2011) - The beginning of the holiday shopping season has arrived, and consumer money resource reminds shoppers that their number one financial goal should be to greet the New Year without incurring further debt because of spending on gifts. To help, outlined a strategy for saving an extra $500 between Black Friday and January 1, 2012 that can be used to pay off holiday credit card bills and avoid late fees, interest charges, or additional debt.

"Many people are still feeling the effects of the recession and are facing tight holiday budgets this year," explained Brad Stroh, co-founder and CEO of "We realize that some shoppers will use their credit cards for gift buying, but we want them to do some last minute saving now so they can pay it off and avoid incurring interest or additional debt." identified a handful of common expenditures that many Americans make on a regular basis. The tables below show how much total savings consumers could realize between Black Friday and January 1, 2012 by making minimal cutbacks in spending for each of these items.

For example, a family of four could eliminate $50 each week from their grocery shopping by cutting back from the USDA Liberal meal plan recommendations to the USDA Moderate meal plan recommendations. There is a separate table for smokers and non-smokers. In each table, the total savings category adds up to approximately $500(1).

Non-Smoker Savings Table

Item Price per Unit Weekly Units Weekly Savings Total Savings
Coffee $3.20 5 $16.00 $88.00
Lunch $3 5 $15.00 $82.50
Grocery $50 1 $50.00 $275.00
Bottled Water $1.00 8 $8.00 $44.00
Total $489.00

Smoker Savings Table

Item Price per Unit Weekly Units Weekly Savings Total Savings
Cigarettes $5.20 2.5 $13.00 $71.50
Coffee $3.20 5 $16.00 $88.00
Lunch $3 5 $15.00 $82.50
Grocery $50 1 $50.00 $275.00
Bottled Water $1.00 8 $8.00 $44.00
Total $561.00

"The key is saving a little on a large number of items so that it doesn't feel as painful," continued Stroh. "But at the end of the day, it adds up and leaves you with a significant amount of cash to help avoid debt."

My Savings Machine

This savings approach is also the fundamental philosophy behind the My Savings Machine, an easy-to-use online calculator that helps consumers tabulate the value of saving even just a few dollars on a number of items over time. Consumers interested in applying this approach to saving money over a longer time period can try this savings calculator for free.

For example, eliminating two average priced lattes a week and putting the extra $8 into an online savings account returning just one percent interest adds up to more than $1,200 within three years. By adding savings from more items, the benefits of saving and compounding interest can have big impacts on wealth.

More information on budgeting and saving can be found in the Budget Guide.

About is the leading resource for free and personalized money help. Founded by a group of financial experts intent on helping consumers save time, money and stress, is designed to give consumers confidence in making money decisions. The site offers useful information, powerful tools, and real money experts to give consumers the information they need in the way they want it.

(1) For information about unit prices and usage assumptions, please contact

Contact Information

  • Press Contact:
    Michael Azzano
    Cosmo PR
    Email Contact