We all know that this time of year can be exhausting for mentally, physically and for our bank account. Between the Holiday parties, gift exchanges and preparing your own home for the Holidays, you can end up spending a fortune. In fact, the average American household is estimated to spend $862 on Holiday-related purchases this year. Most of us, are not able to spend that type of money and honestly, we shouldn’t have to! Enjoy this time of year by making smart purchase decisions and not getting caught up in the commotion. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
Get the facts
Look at your finances and really hammer out how much you will be able to spend this Holiday season without putting yourself in a difficult position. Where can you cut back before the Holidays? What/who are you willing to spend money on? Understanding just how much you can spend before you start shopping will help you to escape buyer’s remorse after the Holidays. Remember, there is no present and/or party that is worth not being able to pay a bill later. Taking care of your financial health will pay for itself in the long run.
List it out
You know what Santa says, “make a list and check it twice.” This principle also holds true for consumers. Take the total of how much you can spend this season from above and sort out how much of this you would like to spend on gifts. Once done, make a list of all the people that you will be buying gifts for and then divide up the gift allowance between those people. Keep this list handy throughout your shopping so that you can update with receipt information to ensure you’re staying on budget. If you underspend on certain gifts, you can add the difference to another person on the list or save the money. With the remaining part of your budget, you can use this for the Holiday needs that are often unplanned. Grocery supplies, travel expenses, etc.
With your budget list handy, now you can start shopping. I recommend browsing for deals online to extend your budget out further. The key here is to stick to your list. This is the busiest time of year for retail stores and they know it. Stores will be set up to entice customers to splurge on items that were unplanned, don’t fall for it. Check off purchases made and keep a tab on how much you’re spending by adding up receipts and making notes on your list.
Crafting your own gifts instead of shopping is always the natural way to “cut expenses” when you’re gifting on a budget. This is true, but can get pricey fast if you’re not careful. Plan the craft beforehand and your due diligence on the supplies required. Do you already own some of the tools necessary? Minimizing the amount of supplies you must purchase will save you cash. Also, is this something that you can make multiple items from one round of supplies? Get the most out of your products and create something innovative that you can give to more than one person on your list. Your expenses will go down and more people will be checked off you list.