One of the easiest ways to make holiday shopping a breeze and less impactful on your finances, is to save ahead (throughout the year) for your holding shopping. Since most of us don’t do this, we either blow our budgets or our minds or sometimes both when it comes to holiday season. Below are a few suggestions on how to keep sane during holiday shopping and keeping your budget in line as well.
1. Check your naughty or nice list TWICE
Create a list of the people you need to buy gifts for and next to each name, jot down a few gift ideas that might work for that person. After your list is compiled, now check who does not need to be there? Who you can give a token gift to, in spirit of the holiday season? Check your list twice, you’d be surprised how many changes can be made from the initial creation of the list.
2. Shop with cash
Leave your debit and credit cards behind. You already have a list and the approximate ideas of gifts for each person. You have a rough idea how much all of it should cost you, so you simply do not need your debit or credit cards. Using only cash, you’ve already set a budget and are sticking to it, plus your credit card statement will be clean and your savings accounts will thank you!
3. Don’t self gift.
Most of us (including my self) have a horrible habit, while shopping for gifts for others, we happen to pickup our selves something too. Don’t fall into the trap of, one for you, one for me approach.
4. Verify your purchases
Don’t by unnecessary gifts. Stick to your original list. You don’t have to show off, by purchasing a more expensive gift. It simply is not worth it to put your self in a financial mess, in order to keep up your reputation or to keep someone happy. A true friend will be appreciative of your gift, no matter what the cost. Remember, it’s the thought that matters the most.
5. Eat before you shop.
Eat well before you shop. Not only will you not need to purchase a lunch in the mall, you will more than likely work off what you ate in the mall, with all the walking. Pack some snacks as well, along with some aqua. This will keep your brain charged and body refreshed. This sounds simple, duh! but I have a reason. I know when I get hungry or thirsty, my brain is not thinking clearly, I become a nagger and this may force me into impulse shopping. Now I hope you see why this point is so important!
6. Don’t sign up for store credit cards.
Yes they are very tempting. You can save 10% or 20% or 30% off your purchase today. This sounds too good to be true, but its not. There is only one winner in this and that’s the store that you stupidly signed up with. They are getting a kickback from their finance company, the finance company can’t wait to hit you with their high interest rate and you my friend are stuck paying this through time. If you must use a credit card, use your personal one, with a much lower interest rate. Than again, remember point # 1, you left your credit cards/debit cards at home and are shopping on a cash budget!
7. Always get gift receipts.
There are times you got gifts, smiled and was all happy, yet when you got home and opened it up, you were lift WTF? Well that would have been a good time for a gift receipt. Now when you go shopping, do us all a favor and get a gift receipt. The gift receiver will be more than thankful for your thoughtfulness. Friends accept gifts with gracefulness, but they may never wear it, re-gift it or simply have no use for it.
That is my long and short of it, when it comes to shopping during the holiday season. Anyone have any other suggestions I can add to the list?