Have you ever gotten to Thanksgiving and had a sudden moment of panic when you recognize that Christmas is only a few short weeks away and you haven’t saved enough money to cover the cost of all that you would like to do for your loved ones?
Well don’t worry, you are not alone. I know we just finally got through summer and got the kids back to school but believe it or not, NOW is the time to start planning for Christmas….at least from a shopping and saving perspective!
Here are 3 easy tips that will help you ensure an amazing holiday without the stress of breaking the bank!
- Write out a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for this year and budget an amount you want to spend on each of those people. This will help prevent overspending on certain individuals but also help prevent “last minute” add-on’s. If you don’t know the person in September or can’t think of them in order to add them to the list, do you really need to purchase them a gift? With this list, you can come up with a comprehensive figure that you want to spend for the holidays and start saving toward that amount between now and the end of November. If you can’t figure out a way to save the total before December 1st, then you have probably allocated too for each person OR you have added too many people to your list. Revise so that the plan is actually doable!
- Plan what you want to get each person (at least in a category of clothing, electronics, toys, etc) before you go shopping! Let’s say you budget $200 for each of your kids. By planning in advance, you can decide whether you want to allocate that $200 to one big gift (maybe a new cell phone for a teenager) or many small gifts (toys and books for toddlers). This will prevent you from spending $150 on miscellaneous small items before coming across a big $200 item that you know will MAKE their Christmas! So instead of OVER spending $350 on that individual, you can stick to your original budget!
- Start shopping now which will allow you time to do price comparisons and to find great deals! It also allows you to spread out the spending so that it doesn’t all hit your checkbook in the same month. One of my favorite ways to shop is online as it a) keeps me away from the parking nightmare and the crowds at the mall, and b) keeps me away from impulse buys at the store! It’s much more likely that you will see something in a store that catches your eye and you add that impulse to your cart than if you are searching online for something specific. Another great way to control your overall budget!