The season to be jolly can very easily turn in to the season to be sorry for many of us, especially if you spend unwisely without budgeting your Christmas shopping. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks that can help reduce stress and spending for the holidays – the most wonderful time of the year.
- Create a Budget
If you haven’t already, do yourself a huge favor and create a budget for your Christmas shopping before you hit the mall or online stores. The simplest method of budgeting is to compile a list of all the people that you need to buy presents for and decide how much you are willing to spend on each person. Creating a budget will help you maintain better control over your cash or credit and will ensure that you do not fall victim to the temptation of impulse purchases, keeping you debt-free. Who likes owing money anyway? Especially right after the New Year kicks off?
- Shop Earlier & Save Online
No matter how much time we think we have, Christmas can sneak up on us. Consumers often find that their spending increases when shopping for gifts a week before Christmas. In order to keep your costs aligned with your budget, it is smart to keep an eye out for online deals and price drops early on and buy all your presents in advance to avoid disappointment. Last minute shopping often results in consumers spending way more than they initially planned to. This is because the gifts they wanted to purchase are sold out by then, leaving consumers with no other option but to buy the more expensive product. It is a lot less stressful to shop a couple weeks or at least a month prior to Christmas. Not only does this allow you to avoid crazy shopping environments, long line ups, and premium prices, but shopping earlier also guarantees that all the gifts you want are in stock. Most importantly, getting your Christmas shopping out of the way creates an opportunity for you to spend more quality time with your family and loved ones, which is what the holidays are all about!
- Use Cash or Debit
There are definitely some benefits that shopping with credit offers, such as convenience and consumer protection. At the same time, however, there are several risks involved with swiping your credit card to make purchases over the holidays. It is very easy to get caught up in the Christmas frenzy and spend beyond your means by abusing your credit card; however, if you are not disciplined about how you use your credit card, you may end up in severe financial trouble and accumulate debt that could take a while to pay off or even hurt your credit score. Instead, using cash or debit when shopping for presents will allow you to limit your spending, because you will only use the money you have access to at the time.
- Secret Santa
Decide whether you need to get every one of your family members, friends, or work colleagues a gift. In order to cut Christmas shopping costs and still make sure that everyone receives a present, suggest a Secret Santa gift exchange. This way everyone in your family and among your friends or co-workers is assigned only one person to purchase a gift for with a spending limit that they must stick to.
Salman Allidina | DBPC Blog