The holidays sneak up on us every year. Often we haven’t taken the time to plan how and what we will spend during the holiday season. Before you start shopping, take a look at our tips to help keep your spending in check and your post-holiday bank account happier.
1. Set a Limit
Take a look at your budget and set a limit for holiday purchases. Consider using cash for shopping so when the money is gone, it is gone. A better suggestion is to fund a holiday spending account throughout the year. That way, the money is already saved and ready to spend guilt-free by the time the holidays roll around.
2. Shorten Your List
Even Santa makes a list of who is naughty and nice. While you might not want to decide who receives gifts the same way Santa does, looking at your list is an important step in keeping your spending under control. If you have more than a handful of people you buy gifts for outside of your immediate family, it may be time to cut down. Instead of buying gifts for everyone, consider writing a personal note or dropping off homemade goods.
3. Consider Shipping
No one likes to be in line at the post office to mail packages at the 11th hour. Most online retailers offer gift packaging to save you time and money by shipping directly to your loved ones. Better yet, watch for Free Shipping promotions from your favorite websites to avoid paying for shipping altogether.
4. Shop Early
The closer you get to the holidays, the harder it can be to buy the items on your list at a good price. Shop throughout the year to take advantage of specials and sales, as well as spread out your spending. Also, remember to check online as you will sometimes find better deals than what brick-and-mortar stores offer.
5. Give it Away
Rather than spending time hunting for the perfect gifts, consider donating to a charity in your recipient’s name. The charity benefits, your recipients are honored, and you may receive tax benefits…it’s a win-win-win.
The holidays have a different meaning for each of us. Putting some (or all) of these tips into practice could help make the holiday season more enjoyable.