The holiday season is upon us! Tis a time for giving and joy! But it’s also a time to open your wallet. It’s very easy to get carried away with your holiday spending and quickly find yourself in the hole. But shopping for the holidays doesn’t have to break the bank. To keep your spending under control this year try making a plan. Here are some tips on how to holiday shop on a budget.
Create a Budget
If you don’t want to break the bank this holiday season, it’s important to set a realistic spending limit. A budget is a great way to help you do that. Make sure you make your budget specific by breaking it down into spending categories. Then set spending goals for each and track the amount you buy to make sure you don’t overspend. Budget categories should include:
- Postage and shipping costs
- Christmas cards
- Charitable donations
- Holiday meals
- Gift wrap
- Travel expenses
- Holiday clothing
There are a variety of online sites like queenoffree.com offer free budget forms to get you started.
Make a Gift List
A good way to stick to a budget is to make a list of the people you want to give gifts to. Start with those you most want to shop for most and work backward. Immediate family will usually top your list first, followed by close friends, relatives and co-workers. Once you have a list of gift recipients, add the possible gifts for each person and keep track of costs. Remember, you don’t have to spend the same amount on everyone. It’s okay to set different spending limits based on priority.
Look for Deals
Many stores offer deals on your list items during the holidays. Spend some time looking for the best prices or for possible discounts or coupon codes. Popular online stores like Amazon.com, for example, offer daily bargains if you look for them. The Amazon Discount Finder tool can help you save quite a bit of money.
Cut Out Extra Expenses
Don’t spend money on expensive wrapping paper, bows, ribbons or other embellishments. These items may not seem costly, but the amount will add up quickly. Adding a bell to your gift-wrapped boxes may look impressive, but it will just end up in the garbage. Keep your giftwrapping simple and save yourself a few dollars.
Resist Impulse Buys
Try and avoid the temptation to buy extra items for people on your gift list or, more importantly, for yourself. Many people get swept up in the holiday spirit, especially when everything is discounted. Stick to your list so you don’t end up in debt.
Get a Head Start on Next Year
The weeks after the holidays are a great time to stock up on wrapping paper, decorations and other items because retailers are looking to sell off their holiday stock, Usually at huge discount prices. You can get a jumpstart on the 2017 holiday season by taking advantage of these sales.