Just because funds are tight doesn’t mean you can’t buy gifts for those you love this holiday season. Nor does it mean you have to take out loans, sell your car, or open a slew of new credit cards in order to cross every name off your holiday shopping list.
Shopping on a budget can be done. It just takes a little more dedication, forethought, and all-around thriftiness.
Want to make sure you don’t break the bank while gift-shopping for your loved ones? Just follow these simple rules of the aisle:
- Know your limits—before you enter a store or pull up a website. Have a set spending budget in mind for every holiday shopping trip you make, whether it’s online or in person. Make a commitment to not exceed that number—and be sure to factor taxes, shipping, and other fees into the equation, too.
- Avoid credit cards at all costs. Credit cards are always only a last resort. For one, they can hurt your credit (which is bad if you’re trying to buy a home), and they also cost you more in the end, once you add in interest payments over time.
- Eat before you go. If you buy a snack, coffee or coke every time you’re out shopping, you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars more than you need to. Make sure to eat something before you head out, and always bring a bottle of water in case you get thirsty.
- Pare down your recipients list. Only give gifts to those you absolutely need to. Get creative with the others, and consider a handmade gift or baked good instead.
- Make a list—and stick to it. Before each holiday shopping trip, make a list of what you want to buy, and stick to it at all costs. Avoid impulse buys and add-ons—especially when in the checkout aisle. Those areas are designed to entice you, so stay strong and stick to the plan.
- Simplify your packaging. Ribbons, bows, wrapping paper and cards can really add up, especially if you’re giving a lot of gifts this season. Consider buying wrapping materials in bulk, and hand-make cards instead of buying them.
Want to make sure you’re financially responsible while you shop? Lay down some ground rules now – before it’s too late.