The holidays are upon us. It feels like we were just celebrating Thanksgiving. I like to do my Christmas shopping early but if you haven’t started yet I wanted to share a few how to tips on shopping with a budget. It’s easy to get carried away with buying gifts, especially when you’re in the store and everything is on sale but you don’t have to.
- Set a total budget amount. No one wants to look at their credit card bill in January and faint. Take 10 minutes to look over your expenses and decide how much money you’re willing and able to spend on gifts.
- Decide how much money you are spending on each person and divide your budget accordingly. Start with the important people and work your way down. Write this information down to remind yourself to stay on task. If you have an agreed upon total with your family members that can be helpful, as well.
- Consider a Secret Santa. If you have a big family or a lot of people to buy for it might be helpful to do a Secret Santa or a grab bag. This will allow everyone to get a nice gift at a set amount without breaking the bank. If you like secrets (I do!), sign up for a Secret Santa website like this one and find out who has who on the big day!
- Do your research. Once you have your budget set and gift ideas scope out products on websites and in newspaper ads. A specific item can be different prices at different stores. By doing your research you can save yourself time and money.
- Use coupon codes. Before buying anything online do a quick coupon code search. Often you’ll find free shipping or save money on your order! Retail Me Not is a great site for online coupons. Always take a minute do a quick Google search!
- Don’t forget homemade gifts. If you have a talent use it! Each winter I wear a crocheted scarf that my sister made for me and it makes me think of her every time I put it on. Don’t underestimate the power of baked goods. This is especially helpful for the folks at the bottom of your list that you want to show attention to without spending a lot of money.
- Shop small. Buying gifts at small business and websites like Etsy help small businesses thrive and keeps money in the local community. It also affords you the chance to get one of a kind gifts, which is pretty special.
- Update your plans after shopping. Reevaluate your list by checking off items purchased and keeping with your budget. Did you find something on sale and saved $10? Take this opportunity to put it towards another gift or save it for next year’s purchases. Did you spend a little more than you expected? Adjust your plans accordingly, update your list to stay on budget.
- Plan for next year. After the holidays make note of what worked and what didn’t. Maybe you wanted to have more spending money, this is the time to develop a savings plan for the year. Next time you will ready for the expenses.
- Have fun! Remember, breaking the bank does not translate to love. The holidays are about being with family, sharing love, and having fun. Take lots of photos and make memories.
What are your money saving tips for Christmas Shopping? Do you stick to a budget? Or are you a black Friday shopper?