With the holidays near, many people are stressed about shopping. As online retailers sell out on particular products for weeks and shippers can’t fill orders fast enough, many people might feel their only choice is to spend more than they were planning.
Whatever your budget, you don’t need to overspend to show your gratitude for the people in your life. The holidays are about gratitude, not things. Your holiday shopping budget should reflect where your values and where you are fiscally at the end of the year, not where you’d like to be. Start saving earlier in the year, if possible. If you don’t have the money to spend, remember that you’re not obligated to go into debt for non-essentials.
If you want to give the people in your life something that shows you’ve not just been thinking about them but that they, too, mean something to you, create a holiday shopping budget to keep yourself out of debt.
Consider these seven tips on how to keep your budget in check from Clothing Shop Online:
1. Make a list, check it twice
To hone in on the season of giving, create a list of the people for which you’re buying a gift so you don’t get carried away or buy something your loved ones don’t need or want. Simply asking what they’d like is your best bet (and in the right size), but if you’re the mischievous type and hope to watch their face light up, scope their social media for their interests. Does your loved one have a Pinterest account where they save things they’ve researched and hope to splurge on one day? Or do they have other social media accounts where they’ve publically liked certain things? You could also ask those closest to them if they know what your loved one would like. Conducting some research is crucial to not spending too much. If you’re shopping for clothing, you need to know their sizes in advance. Not all sizing is created equal and varies between brands, even countries, so learn more about clothing measurements and sizing guides.
2. Make a budget
Decide on your total limit
If you haven’t had the ability all year to squirrel away some savings towards holiday shopping, decide how much you can reasonably spend without using credit. No budget is too small if you’re willing to put in some time hunting for deals and getting creative. If possible, build in a 10% buffer, or whatever you think is realistic, so that if you go over, you’re still within your means.
Don’t forget to list all of your expected holiday expenses, including wrapping paper, gift cards, potential travel, and charitable donations. People often forget about these not-so-hidden costs of holiday shopping, which can eat into your gift budget.
Budget per category
Input price range limits for each category of spending. This will help you narrow gift ideas before you start shopping.
As you begin your holiday shopping, subtract money spent from your budget total. This will help you make any adjustments as necessary across your categories.
Buy in cash when possible
It seems that using cash has gone out of style these days. However, studies show that using cash when shopping significantly reduces spending. While credit cards are excellent for travel and anything you may need to contest in the event of identity theft, watching cash physically leave your wallet makes you less likely to part with it.
3. Get an early start on shopping
The key to staying on budget for your holiday shopping is to start early. Consider the times of the year when certain stores offer big sales. Do your holiday shopping before prices fluctuate so that you can take advantage of the best deals.
Don’t forget to account for shipping windows and fees. All too often, we stay on budget, even coming in well under, only to blow our budget on last-minute shipping to overnight something. Or worse, shippers are overwhelmed and deliver your items too late – past the holidays. More than ever, shippers cannot keep ahead of the demands placed on it by internet shoppers.