Spending blindly during the holidays can lead to unwelcome debt in the new year. Create a budget plan for your holiday shopping and make the most of what you decide to spend this holiday season. We’ll show you how!
Make a list
To share the joy of the season without racking up too much debt, try to be realistic about how much you can afford to spend on gifts this year. You may not be able to pay for gifts for everyone you’d like to give them to, so write down your own wish list of who you would like to buy for, and work from that. As you look at the people on your list, consider for whom a simple card or inexpensive homemade treat might be an appropriate expression of thanks and sharing.
When your list is composed, you can begin your budget plan.
Choose the gifts
Do you know at the outset what each person on your gift-giving list might like to receive? Do some brainstorming on the perfect gift for each person, and then you can estimate a dollar amount to make buying or making that gift a reality.
Create a shopping budget
A good piece of budgeting advice is not to spend more in total for your seasonal gifts than you can afford to pay off in one month. If you keep a regular budget, you likely already have a discretionary amount in place to take care of extra or unexpected expenses each month. To figure out what holiday shopping amount you might need to absorb into that fund, tally up the gift estimates you’ve listed, add on wrapping materials and shipping costs, and look at the total.
Ways to stay on budget
Using cash will help you keep everything in perspective and make you thriftier with your purchases. Whether you use cash or credit, be sure to check refund policies before you buy, file all your receipts, and keep a running tally of how much you spend. Also, by starting your shopping early, you may gain some flexibility and save money by avoiding last-minute shipping fees.
Get the best price
Shopping online might help keep your shopping mission on budget, if you use the tools at your disposal wisely. Using a price comparison engine can help you be sure of getting the lowest price available on items. Try PriceGrabber.com or Google’s product search. Search Dealnews.com , SlickDeals, and Deal of the Day Tracker to help you find the latest deals and coupons for the gifts you’re looking for.
Prepare for next year
Now that holiday budgeting has become part of your tradition, start getting ready for next year’s budget in advance. Create a holiday shopping fund by opening a high-yield savings account that you contribute to every month. Can you imagine the freedom of paying for your holiday shopping next year without worrying about running up a credit card? A little planning can help you pull this off.
Don’t add financial stress to your holiday menu. This year, give yourself the useful gift of preparing a holiday shopping budget plan to help you know exactly how much you’re spending on holiday cheer. You’ll enjoy the season even more!
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