We all do it, don’t we? Each year, we tell ourselves that we are not going to wait until the last minute to do our Christmas shopping and yet, one way or another, we find ourselves in the malls scurrying during the last week to make sure that everyone on our list is taken care of.
In the midst of all of the hustle and bustle, sometimes we’re more focused on purchasing gifts than actually sticking with a budget.
That’s why we’re here: to provide you with five tips on how to create a Christmas shopping budget that will keep you from being stressed as you set out to spread some Christmas cheer:
Make your list and check it twice. First up, your Christmas shopping list should be a lot like your grocery list in the sense that if you go out to purchase presents without a list of people and items in mind, you are bound to get more than you need or pay more than you’d like. Therefore, make a list of all of the people you are buying gifts for and how much you are willing to spend for each present.
Compare prices. Once you know what it is that you want, thanks to the internet, it only takes a moment to do a bit of price comparison shopping. For instance, there are certain things that you can get at Wal-Mart, Target and K-Mart. Go to their websites and see which places have the cheaper prices and go there first. It will save you both gas and time.
Keep up with your purchases. It doesn’t matter too much if you have a set budget, only to talk yourself out of keeping it. It can be easy to look at all of the pretty things in the windows, to notice all of the sale and discount signs and then emotionalize getting “just one more thing” or changing your list to something else. That’s a surefire way to go over budget, though. Buy only what’s on your list, track the purchases that you made and keep all of the receipts so that you’re aware of what you spent come January’s bill time.
Pay with cash. Credit card companies and payday loan businesses tend to get their own “presents” from people simply because consumers tend to use them more around this time of the year than any other one. Whether it’s Mastercard or Visa or even Dollars Direct, one smart rule that a lot of financial experts give to people is this: If you can’t afford to pay for it cash, then you can’t afford it. Look for something else.
Get creative with wrapping. People would probably be shocked if they took the time to look at how much money they spend in wrapping paper alone. In the honor of being more eco-friendly and resourceful, why not be more creative this year by using things like remnants of material, newspaper and magazines, mason jars and cloth gift bags to wrap up your presents? For more ideas, simply go to your favorite search engine and put “eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas” in the search field. Happy Holidays.