The holidays are the season of giving, and they are also the season of spending. Buying gifts for your loved ones is one way to show them you care, but don’t let overspending drag you down this holiday season. Without a holiday spending plan, expenses can add up quickly. Creating a holiday budget and being creative when it comes to gift-giving can help you stay within your means and avoid taking on holiday credit card debt, while still showing your loved ones that you care. Here are a few tips to help you trim your holiday budget this year and every year:
Make a Shopping List
Make a list of everyone you’re planning on buying a gift for and allocate a dollar amount for each person. You can also use this list to brainstorm some gift ideas for your loved ones.
Leave Items in Your Shopping Cart
This is one of the best tricks when you are doing your shopping online. Go through your shopping list and select the “nice to haves” and other things that can wait. Once you’ve found an item online, open an account on the merchant’s website and add the product to your shopping cart. Now it’s time to play the waiting game. Online stores usually have systems for encouraging you to finish your purchase. You might be sent email reminders, and ads for the product will probably start appearing on other websites you visit (this is called retargeting). Many retailers will eventually offer you a discount code for the item(s) in your cart so they can close the sale. Bingo!
With the cost of nearly everything rising, many of us have one eye on our wallet as we approach the holidays. This is a good time to remember that the point of the season is not to put yourself in the poor house! It is to bring friends and family together. Consider taking the initiative and talking with your loved ones about reducing holiday costs. Here are a few ideas to begin with:
- Set a reasonable spending limit
- Focus on games rather than gifts. You’ll find a lot of holiday-specific games online to make the day more fun.
- Instead of getting gifts for everyone, consider going the secret Santa route.
Use online resources to your advantage. Retailer websites and social media are great avenues to find bargains and learn more about what kind of sales they will be having. Sometimes buying in-store and doing curbside pickup will be more affordable than the convenience costs sometimes attached to shopping online.
Consider Homemade and DIY Gifts
Homemade and DIY gifts can save you money, and they’ll feel much more personal to the recipient than a similar item bought at a store. However, if you have a giftee who’s a collector or routinely shops in thrift stores, chances are you can find unique, low-cost gifts at thrift or bargain stores or even in your own home!
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Happy Holidays from all of us at Point Breeze Credit Union!