Holidays are a time for giving, but giving too much can also put you in a huge financial hole. If you don’t want to end up having to dig yourself out of a shopping deficit at the end of December, follow these holiday shopping budget tips.
1. Set an overall budget.
Think about what you’re really able to spend overall and stick to that amount. What you’ll spend on each individual can fluctuate within that amount, but the overall budget should remain the same to avoid overspending.
2. Make a list of gift recipients, then trim it down.
Your second cousin whom you haven’t seen in 10 years probably doesn’t need a new set of dinner plates. Stick to the closest family members and friends for gift giving. If you still want to send something to long-lost relatives and acquaintances, a holiday photo card is a nice, inexpensive idea.
3. Use cash for purchases.
Credit cards can make it much easier to overspend. Instead, put cash aside at the beginning of the holiday shopping season and use that money to make purchases. If you prefer online shopping, create a separate account for your holiday shopping money, or be extremely disciplined in sticking to your budget.
4. Take advantage of free shipping.
Online shopping is convenient, but the shipping costs can really add up. Take advantage of free shipping days by making several gift purchases at once. Most retailers offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount.
5. Start shopping early.
Waiting until the last minute can cause you to overspend. Starting your holiday shopping as early as September or October is a good idea because you can shop a little bit at a time. Everyday deals are often better than Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals anyway, and you’ll be more likely to score the big-ticket items that might sell out on these busy shopping days.
6. Think quality, not quantity.
One thoughtful gift is more appreciated than several random items. Homemade gifts are also a good idea as they come from the heart. The best part is, they’re also less expensive.
Stay on budget with these holiday shopping tips and enjoy the season!