It’s beginning to look a lot like … Thanksgiving.
The holidays can be a drain on the budget, and if you’re not careful, you could be paying off holiday bills for most of the next year.
The tab for a Thanksgiving spread can add up. But then come the Hanukkah and Christmas holidays.
Do some planning, starting with your budget. How much money do you want to spend on the holidays, without going into debt? Establish that limit, then make a list of all your expenses, to include travel, decorating, gifts, food and other entertainment expenses, party clothing. All of it.
Remember the bottom line, especially as you’re allocating your budget for gifts. Decide how much you want to spend on each person. When you add up the numbers, do they fall within the budget? If not, adjust those numbers. Pare down your spending. Would that person really want you to go into debt because of that gift you’re buying for him or her?
The earlier you start planning and comparison shopping, the less likely you are to be caught in the crush of overspending as you scramble for that last-minute gift. If your military exchange offers layaway, that’s a good way to select items early and spread out the payments.
Navy Exchange stores and Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores are now temporarily offering fee-free layaways, so check with your local exchange store for rules.
This is also a good time to take stock of what your military stores offer, to make the budget stretch farther. For example, commissaries worldwide are offering limited weekly quantities of select frozen turkeys at 49 cents per pound. A holiday recipe booklet in the commissaries includes coupons with a combined savings of $35, good through Dec. 31.
The exchanges' annual toy books are out. The Navy Exchange Joybook prices are good through Nov. 14; you can also shop for their toys online at MyNavyExchange.com/toys. The AAFES Joy of Toys book prices are good through Nov. 21; the book is also available at ShopMyExchange.com.
Here are just a few examples of some of the military exchange deals around Thanksgiving. Remember that regardless of branch of service, all those eligible to shop at military exchanges and commissaries can shop at any store on any base, although some restrictions apply to retirees overseas.
Note that all honorably-discharged veterans are eligible to shop at the online exchange stores, ShopMyExchange.com and MyNavyExchange.com.
MARINE CORPS EXCHANGE
Nov. 21 only
- 15 percent off entire selection of firearms and ammunition
- Miracle Bamboo Pillow, $16.99, regularly $28.99
Nov. 21 through Nov. 26
- Marine Uniform Bates “Lites” Dura Shock Boots, $124.99
- 25 percent off all brands of shoes, excluding military
Nov. 23 only
- 32-inch RCA TV for $99.99
- 55-inch 4K Smart LG TV, $399.99
- MacBook Air, $789.99, regularly $989.99
- 50 percent off HP All in One color printer, $48.99
- 25 percent off all LEGO toys
- 25 percent off all NERF toys
- 25 percent off all sunglasses
- 30 percent off Under Armour Fleece
- 25 percent off Marine Pride apparel
ShopMyExchange.com Thanksgiving Day (Online only)
- $250 off Apple MacBook; $200 off MacBook Air
- 15 percent off all fragrances
- Save $50 to $300 on Acer gaming laptops, desktops and monitors
Cyber Monday, Nov. 26
- Michael Kors Leather Crossbody handbag, $79.99
- 30 percent off men’s Dockers apparel
Cyber Week (Nov. 26 to Nov. 30)
- Cuisinart 5.5 qt. stand mixer or Coffee Center coffee maker, $89, regularly $189
- Assorted games, $10
- Olympia Nema underseater 18-inch luggage, $49.95
ARMY AND AIR FORCE EXCHANGE SERVICE (AAFES)
Also available at ShopMyExchange.com
Black Friday, Nov. 23
- 25 percent off regularly priced handbags from Coach, Michael Kors, Vera Bradley, Dooney & Burke and more
- 25 percent off Under Armour, Adidas, Nike athletic apparel
- Men’s The NorthFace hooded jacket, $49
- LG TVs ranging in price from $299 to $999 (49-inch to 75-inch screens); Samsung TVs ranging in prive from $147 to $1,299 (32-inch to 65-inch screens)
- Samsung major appliances, savings from $120 to $1,200
- Godiva 36-piece box, buy one get one free (BOGO) plus save 20 percent
- Assorted sunglasses styles from Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs and Juicy Couture, $32.99
- 10 percent off firearms in stock in store, plus an extra 5 percent off if the Military Star card is used
- GoPro Hero6 camera, $249, regularly $329
- 50 percent off Rivergrille charcoal grill
Nov. 23 through Nov. 25
- 15 percent off power tools from Craftsman, Black & Decker and Dewalt
- 25 percent off all hand tools from Craftsman, Irwin, Dewalt and Stanley
- Up to $150 off on all iRobot models
- 20 percent off all hydration from Camelbak, Nordic, Stanley, Under Armour and LifeStraw
- Up to $200 off all heavy fitness equipment, including treadmills and elliptical trainers
- 20 percent off all toys from Star Wars, Jurassic World, Marvel, Disney and Disney Princess
- 25 percent off all outerwear for the entire family
- 25 percent off entire selection of watches and sunglasses
- 50 percent off entire stock of ladies’ holiday motif accessories, and holiday motif apparel for the family, holiday home décor, trim-a-tree, ornaments, greenery and lights, holiday items for pets and holiday gift wrap from American Greeting, Papyrus and more
- 10 percent off all Yeti coolers, drinkware and accessories
- Additional 10 percent off entire stock of prestige cosmetics
- Additional 15 percent off entire stock of fragrances and fragrance sets