As this Holiday season is quickly approaching, excitement and anticipation grows. Unfortunately, for most of us, our budgets stay the same. As the holidays get closer and we prepare for the season’s festivities how can we make our holiday budgets go the farthest? All you need is a little forethought and some careful planning to see the biggest bang for your buck!
The first thing you need to do is to establish a holiday budget. Carefully plan out who you need to buy gifts for, not forgetting possible office parties and out of town relatives. Once your gifting list is made you can better establish your holiday budget. You can divide the budget by how many people there are on your list or separate your list by importance. One list being your immediate family (husband, children…) and the second list can be made up of people you still may want to buy for, but not spend as much money on. You could also just make one list but write out who you have to give gifts for in order of importance. That way, when you get close to spending your allowed holiday budget you have all the most important gifts bought and don’t mind being a little cheaper when it comes to, say, great Uncle Joe’s gift.
Holiday budget 101 also includes smart shopping! With use of the internet it’s now easier than ever to find out which stores have holiday specials going on. If you like shopping at Target and Walmart, but see that Target has the biggest sales and largest price cuts, you might as well just go to Target and do all your shopping there. You can also save more by doing a majority of your shopping at home and save the gas money. Most stores have just as many, if not more, specials online as compared to in store. Free standard shipping is also included on many online shopping sites. By shopping online not only do you save your sanity by skipping the crazy holiday crowd, you also save money on your everyday budget by not using gas.
When Holiday shopping don’t forget to look around and shop at places you normally wouldn’t. Once again, the internet is good for this. You can easily window shop at new places without driving out of your way. Instead of just thinking about specific stores to shop at, do an internet search for the item(s) you’re looking for. A quick search for “purple sweater” may bring up 10 new stores that you have never tried. Those new stores might just have the best deal and you may even find a new favorite place to shop. And as long as we are talking about online shopping, you may want to check out eBay. eBay isn’t just for people selling their unwanted used junk or antiques. More sellers than ever before now offer new items still in the original package, but for much less money than you would find at a traditional retail store.
If you’re going to be going out shopping, only take a certain amount of cash with you. That way, when you reach the end of your holiday budget, you’re done shopping. Doing it this way is also a good mental reminder. If your just using your credit card it can be hard to realize how quickly your spending your money, but cold hard cash will give you a good visual reminder just how much money your shelling out.
These are just a few tips of how to stay in your holiday budget and not break the bank this year. I can promise you that if you follow even just one or two of these tips, you will be on your way to a brighter, less pricier holiday this year!