Studies have shown that the leading cause of stress during the holiday season derives from money problems. Ugh!
If you’re anything like me, you’re not one of those smart, savvy shoppers, incorporating the gift giving season into her budget each month and buying presents throughout the year.
Well, fear not, these tips on proper planning and smart shopping techniques will help you stay within budget while finding something special for everyone on your list:
- Check your shopping list and make sure that everyone you are buying for needs a gift. If you’re budget is tight, buy only for close family and friends.
- Write down a maximum dollar amount that you want to spend for your entire list and then track how much you are actually spending.
- Buy items in bulk so you always have something little on hand for unexpected gifts. Consider a case of wine, candles or chocolates.
- Be realistic about your purchases and ask yourself the following: Can I really afford this gift? Do I have the cash in my bank account to pay for it? When shopping, leave your credit cards at home. Then, if you do not have the cash to pay for it, you can’t buy the gift.
- Consider staying home and shopping online. Not only do many retailers waive shipping fees during the holidays, you’ll save money on gas by not having to visit the mall, too.
- Consider making your own gifts. There are excellent and easy ideas on the web. Even a nice batch of homemade cookies can go a long way.
- Take advantage of post-holiday sales on gifts for next year.
- If you tend to spend a lot during the holidays, consider opening a holiday savings account. You can make arrangements for automatic payroll deductions throughout the year to be financially fit when the shopping season hits (this also works well as a vacation fund – just saying).
The holidays are about happiness and joy. Just do your best and forget the rest!