We all want to gift our loved ones something special for the holidays. But even if your heart says give, your wallet could be saying otherwise. It’s a challenge to know how to divvy up your spending, but if you want to come out of the season stress-free, let this strategy be your guide.
Step 1: Take stock of your financials.
Before making any purchases, it’s important to figure out how much you can realistically spend without breaking the bank. Take a look at your bank account, and settle on a total that won’t leave you in debt well into the New Year. Once you’ve figured out a comfortable amount, you can take your budget one step further.
Step 2: Decide who, and how much.
As much as you might want to give your best friend’s mom’s puppy a gift, it might not be in the budget. Make a list of the most important people to give gifts to this year (e.g. mom, dad, siblings) and decide on how much to spend on each of these individuals. When choosing how much to spend, think about how much these people are likely to spend on you, and plan accordingly.
Step 3: Search for the best deals.
Don’t hit the store until you’ve scoured the internet, newspapers, and mall kiosks for coupons. Most malls will have special coupons for customers this time of year, on top of a store’s additional holiday sale. Also, don’t forget to check your inbox. First time shoppers can often receive discounts, or a coupon code, which could get you a certain percentage off for shopping in-store.
Step 4: Keep track of what you buy.
Especially if you’re using credit cards to make the majority of your purchases. Be sure to keep all of your receipts, as well as asking for gift receipts so that people can take back what they don’t need or want. If using cash, don’t take out an excessive amount over your budget. It’s OK to have some extra for a little leeway, but too much more and you’ll likely find yourself giving in on all of the latest deals.
Don’t start your holiday shopping without this budget-saving guide—your loved ones and your wallet with thank you.