If you love giving gifts to your family and friends, it can be hard to not overspend during the holiday season. Even those who are good about staying on budget all year end up splurging a little too much when it comes to gift giving. But sticking to your holiday budget doesn’t have to be hard. It’s all about planning ahead. Here are five quick tips for sticking to your holiday shopping budget this year.
Tip 1: Make a list for everything
Lists are an important part of keeping your finances organized any time of year, but especially during the holidays. Make separate lists for holiday food, decorations, and gift costs. Keeping a list of all your potential expenses will help you to prioritize your holiday expenses. Purchase the items high on your list, then check them off, and see how much money you have left to spend on the remaining items.
Tip 2: Only spend cash
If you tend to purchase your gifts in a store rather than online, try using only cash to do your holiday shopping. It is much easier to overspend when you’re using a credit card. Using cash to make your holiday purchases helps you to clearly see exactly how much you’ve spent and how much is left in your budget.
Tip 3: Take time to find deals
Start comparison shopping before the holidays even start. If you don’t know how much a product normally costs, how will you know if you’re getting a good deal on for Black Friday? It’s important to take time to find deals. Don’t be afraid to return an item to the store if a better discount for the same item comes along.
Tip 4: Cut back your giving
Although the holidays are the time for giving, you shouldn’t put yourself in financial hardship over them. Keep your gift-giving list short. If your budget is tight, you may have to skip the office gift exchange or skip mailing greeting cards. It may not be what you want to do but come January your finances will thank you.
Tip 5: Set expectations ahead of time
If you tell your family and friends about your holiday budget, they will likely understand; they are probably all on a budget too. Working together you may even be able to save each other money by going in on gifts together or by agreeing to not purchase each other gifts.