During the holiday gift buying frenzy, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed about not having enough money to spend on your loved ones. However, with some careful planning and creative gift giving, you can enjoy some holiday cheer without worrying about going into debt to show you care.
Below are some easy-to-follow tips that will guide you through the buying process with ease:
1. Plastic precaution
Remember to be cautious with credit cards. Plan to pay off the balance at the end of the month if possible, and if not, choose the card with the lowest interest rate. If not used wisely, it could take you all year to pay off the holiday splurge.
2. Save during the season
Even though it’s already December, you can still save money for shopping. If you’re in the habit of going out to lunch every day, you can bring your lunch from home a few days a week and sock away that $7 – 10. Before you know it, those lunch savings will add up to a nice sum you can spend during the holidays.
3. Coupons and sales
This year retailers are offering all kinds of deals. Save the coupons and combine with special offers – but don’t be tempted by extras not on the shopping list.
4. Stay away from store credit cards
Store credit cards tend to have the highest interest rates around, somewhere in the ballpark of 20% APR. Also, limites on such cards tend to be much lower than others causing your credit score to take a tumble if you are close to reaching it.
5. Include the family
The holidays are a good time to sit down with your kids and establish some guidelines. Depending on their age, you can touch on how much they can spend, what they can except and what they can do to help others. If you like, you can even give them extra chores to earn money for holiday spending.
Getting an early start on holiday shopping is crucial when working on a limited budget. For next year:
- Set up a budget early. Your gift-buying budget will be similar to what you’ve spent in previous years, so determine early in the year how much you’ll need to save. Divid the total by 10 and by mid-October, you will have reached your budget goal. You can even set up an automatic transfer into a special account.
- Make a list. Create a gift list and a target amount to spend on each person.
- Start shopping early. By shopping early for gifts, you can save time and money as it allows you to make the most of sales and seasonal pricing trends. Take advantage of after-Christmas sales! If you enjoy shopping estate and garage sales, you’ll have all year to find that perfect present. Also, early online shopping allows you to save on shipping as shipping costs tend to rise during the holiday season.
Information courtesy of Velocity Credit Union