7 Budgeting Tips For Christmas Shopping
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… except when you look at your credit card statement! How do you show everyone that you love them without going overboard? It can be tough to limit yourself when you want to give them the world. You can express your love with gifts without getting yourself into financial trouble. Here are seven budgeting tips for Christmas shopping this year:
- Review Your Bank Account: Before you start heading out to the stores with Christmas on your mind, take a look at your funds. Write down all of the things that you know will be auto drafted out of the account. Make room for rent, insurance, car payments, phone, etc. Also, take into account groceries, gas, restaurants, and other “fun spending”. Before you start swiping a credit card until it’s hot, be sure that you can cover the cost. A fast and easy way to find yourself in debt is to spend more than you have in the bank. Don’t let credit card companies make money off of you. Pay off the full balance when the statement comes in the mail.
- Set Aside Extra Funds for Gifts: Now that you’ve taken a hard look at your living expenses, crunch the numbers to have a realistic number for what you can spend on gifts. If you enjoy being a generous giver, then start setting aside gift money earlier in the year to have more to spend for Christmas.
- Make a List: Think of all of your loved ones. Write down everyone’s name who is super close to you, such as immediate family members and dear friends. Don’t be ashamed to trim some names if necessary. Not everyone that you work with needs a specialized gift. Talk to your loved ones if money is tight. Don’t feel pressured to give more than you can afford.
- Set An Average Gift Price: After you’ve made your list, divide up the extra funds that you’ve set aside to each person. Take your money amount and divide it by the number of people you have on your list. That is your average gift limit. If you have $500 to spend, and you have 10 people on your list, you can spend $50 per person.
- Search Deal Sites: Just because you have a set limit amount, doesn’t mean that you need to hit that amount. Do your best to stay under the set amount by shopping on discount sites and bargain stores. There’s no shame in finding a great gift for an awesome price. If you save more, then you can give more.
- Give Experiences: Not everything needs to be a tangible gift. Set aside time to spend with a loved one. Take them to dinner, or give a movie ticket. Things that require you to spend quality time with your loved one can be much more meaningful than any physical gift.
- DIY Where You Can: Save money on Christmas cards by hand writing notes. Make it something from the heart, which will warm someone more than any glittery picture ever could. Wrap presents in newspaper, and reuse old gift bags. The gift is what matters. No matter the presentation, it’s still fun to rip open a present.
Be smart about how you gift give this year. Another added tip is to write down a list of potential gift ideas next to the person’s name so you can start deal shopping. You can compare prices and find the best deal if you start off with a plan. Little things can make the season much merrier.