The holidays have a way of sneaking up on us and bringing temptations with them – often expensive ones! While shopping for gifts, many of us end up forgetting all about our typical budgets. It’s not always easy to avoid these temptations and holiday expenses, especially with new “must-have” products everywhere you look. However, with preparation and boundaries, you can practice financial responsibility while still enjoying the holidays.
Before you start your Christmas shopping this season, try implementing these tips into your holiday shopping budget.
Set your limits
First, review your finances to determine what you can comfortably afford to spend on gifts and other related expenses this season. Your limit should be something feasible that you know you can commit to. If you’re able to start putting money away during the months leading up to Christmas, you’ll feel much more prepared when creating your budget.
Communicate your spending budget with your spouse or a trusted friend or family member for added accountability. Your display of financial discipline may even encourage them to create a budget of their own this year!
Make your list and check it twice!
Staying organized is the best way to keep control of your finances and ensure that you don’t exceed the budget you’ve set. Overspending can occur all too easily when you begin shopping without a plan. Early preparation is vital to avoid feeling like you’re running out of time to get everything completed, which can lead to splurging on last-minute gifts.
Before you begin your Christmas shopping, create a list of those you want to include on your shopping list. Take the time to prioritize your recipients of close friends and family, and then jot down a couple of gift ideas for each person. Consider creating a second list of other friends, family, or co-workers that you can do something more affordable for, like bake homemade holiday treats!
Search for deals
Deals are everywhere. You just have to know where to look. After you’ve created your shopping list, do some research to find the best prices out there. Whether you prefer shopping online or in-person, be sure to check which retailers have your items in stock, and have the lowest prices.
A benefit to shopping online is competitive pricing, applying promo codes, seeing product reviews, and avoiding the crowds. If you’re completing most of your shopping online, download a free browser extension that crawls the web for the best coupons to apply to your purchase. It can even watch prices to let you know when to buy at the lowest price.
Plan a group gift
Want to get something big for someone on your list, but don’t want to blow your budget on one item? Gather your friends or family to split the cost of a more expensive gift instead! For example, if your mom has had her eye on a fancy bracelet, plan to go in on this gift together with your siblings.
A group gift is a great way to make sure your money goes towards a present your recipient will be excited about without exceeding your budget. Plus, there’s added sentimental value when you receive a gift from a group of your loved ones.
Focus on others
Remember, this is the season of giving, not receiving! If you find yourself with wandering eyes as you’re shopping for someone else on your list, stop and add it to your wishlist instead of buying for yourself. Creating a wishlist will give your friends and family ideas for gifts you truly want and allow you to stay focused on them.
The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones, not material things! Keep this in mind as you’re creating your holiday budget and if you’re tempted to stray from it. Make sure you can truly enjoy this time together by being financially responsible and prepared for what’s to come. Happy Holidays and best wishes from Peoples Bank!