Keeping your spending in check can be tough to do during the holiday season. It’s pretty easy to get swept up in the holiday spirit, spoiling loved ones with more and more gifts, especially since every where you turn there are advertisements for more gift ideas.
1. Set a holiday budget
As you can probably tell, here at Moran Law we are all about setting budgets. Setting a holiday budget is no exception, but it is unique. When setting a budget for how much you want to spend this holiday, don’t just consider gift purchases, but also wrapping and shipping costs, holiday cards, decorations, entertaining, and travel. To some planning for gift-giving holidays before Thanksgiving may be outrageous, but remember the earlier you start budgeting, the more time you have to save.
2. Determine your gift-giving strategy
Decide if you prefer to give bigger gifts to a few people, or if you plan to give smaller things to more people. Either way, a strategy is important to help evaluate potential purchases. Communicate your strategy to your family to manage their expectations, consider setting up a family-wide limit to how much to spend on each other. Be sure to think creatively inside your budget, hand-made items can be more meaningful to receive, and cheaper than the new PS4.
3. Make a list
Once you have your strategy and budget make a list of the people you want to buy for. Write down a general idea of how much you can afford per person and allocate that money from the budget. Like all budget and money plans be as realistic as possible. Keep this list with you and update it as you shop to keep track of your spending.
4. Ask for a list
When it comes to gift ideas, especially for children, ask loved ones to write a list. Lists can help relieve some holiday stress, and pressure to find the perfect gift. They also ensure that your money will go towards something appreciated and useful. TIP: Check back a few weeks later on children’s lists- kids are often desperate for a new toy one day, and completely loose interest the next.
5. Shop when and where it counts
Whether you prefer Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping, don’t miss out on retailer promotions this holiday season. When shopping online bundle your purchases on a single website to qualify for free shipping. You can also sign up for websites like FatWallet to recieve email updates on the best pricing for the gifts on your list.
6. Stick to the mission
When shopping around the holidays there is no shortage of deals that may seem to good to pass up.. but remember the list you created earlier? Avoid adding things to your cart for people who aren’t on it.
Hint: The idea is to purchase gifts for others- not stuff for yourself.
7. Consider gift cards
If rule #6 is too hard to follow when browsing the stores consider getting gift cards. You can avoid hours shopping around by picking a gift card amount that works for your budget. For those who may be wary of trading in real U.S. money for fake credit only good at certain places be assured that The Federal Reserve issued new rules on gift cards that made them more protected and consumer friendly.
8. Don’t forget stocking-stuffers
Although stocking-stuffers may seem like the easiest gifts to buy they are often left until the last minute causing you to over-pay for simple items. Make time to stop by your local dollar store for little things like toothbrushes, bouncy balls, pony tail holders, and crayons to fill stockings with.