It is that time of the year again where you subject your budget to a certain level of holiday shopping for you, your family, close relatives and some friends. The holidays is just around the corner that people are starting to prepare for gift giving. As it draws near, you begin to do some window shopping trying to make mental notes of who gets what on Christmas day.
You might not think much about the money you spend every year during the holidays but the amounts could surprise you. According to PWC.com, an average consumer could be spending an average amount of $1,121 each for the holiday season. This can include buying gifts for people, spending on food, travel for the holidays or even buying holiday decorations.
There are even some people who have to deal with a big expense before the holiday season. This makes it a little more complicated because as the holiday approaches, there will be a big chance that you will be heading out to various stores to make purchases either for yourself or for other people. That is already a big part of how you celebrate the holidays.
It is quite challenging to go through the season without any form of holiday shopping which can range from toys to clothes and even gadgets. The stores and brands themselves know how much shopping people would do this time of the year so they provide enticing discounts and packages to help convince you to shop even more.
Holiday shopping done right
If you are already planning your holiday shopping or already midway through it, here are a few tips you can use to make the process a little easier. These aims to guide you and help you protect your finances during the holiday season.
- Have a list of people to give gifts to. It will be a challenge to try and mentally take note of everyone you will be buying gifts for. You might be able to remember close family and friends but as you get home, you might find out that you missed a few people and have to schedule another day at the mall. Starnewsonline shares that shoppers would spend more on gifts for the family than coworkers but if you have to go back out everytime because you forgot to buy a gift for someone then this can add to your cost. Be sure to have a list of the people you plan on giving gifts to this holiday season to get you organized and save you time from having to go back out because you forgot a gift for someone.
- Put a structure in your list. Holiday gift buying can really do a number on your finances that is why putting some semblance of structure can help you address this concern. First off, structure your list in a way that the most important people come first. You can have a list each for family members, close relatives, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. Segregating your list can help you compartmentalize and see if you forgot someone in that area of your life. You can also come up with just one list but be sure to put some labels on it to know who the person is.
- Assign dollar amounts to each name. One more important part of your list is putting a dollar amount for each person. This signifies how much you are willing to spend for them as well as remind you of your limit for gifts. This can be a great tool as you try to look through items in a store and determine what you are going to get each person on your list.
- Total the whole amount. This is where things get a little bit interesting because as soon as you total the amount, you would need to make adjustments. Don’t forget that you have to add a few extra dollars for contingency. This can be a trial and error type of process because you would need to make small adjustments on the amounts per person so you can change the total amount.
How to save with holiday expenses
USAToday.com shared that credit card debt for households that has a balance can average more than $16,000. That is a big amount for any budget and as holiday shopping would soon add to that debt figure, here are a few money saving tips for shoppers.
- Group family/couple gifts. By now, you should already have a list of people you want to give gifts to this holiday season. One money saving tip for your holiday shopping is to group gifts for some of the persons on your list. If they are a couple then maybe you can buy one gift for the two of them. You might even group gifts per family if you are really running on a tight budget.
- Personalize your gifts. Creativity becomes your best friend when the holiday season draws near. One thing you have to remember is that pricey and bigger is not always better and when it comes to gifts, you can always personalize them. This can save you significant amount of money and even let other people know about your skill and hobby. If you love photography then you can offer family portraits for some of your friends and relatives. If you have a talent for baking then it might be a good idea to whip out some home baked cookies for your loved ones and your friends. It could take a longer time but you get to personalize your gift and you save a lot of money from holiday shopping in the process.
- Buy in bulk. If you are really set on purchasing holiday gifts for your loved ones then it might be a good idea to consider bulk buying. If you have been doing it with your grocery shopping then you have a pretty good idea how it works. Buying in bulk allows you to save a few dollars on the total bill which can lead to significant savings on your budget. The challenge is finding a gift that you can buy in bulk and be able to give out to a lot of people without losing your individual touch.
- Be sure to compare prices. One of the best things you can do to help control your budget is to conduct price checks before you head on out to the store to purchase gifts for the holidays. You can do a quick search online to find out how different stores are pricing the item you are planning to buy. Once you find the store giving the lowest price then you can purchase them online. Just be wary about delivery and shipping charges as this could hike up the expense. If you plan to physically go to the store to buy the item then it would be a good idea to call them up. Verify if the item is still available. There are times that they fail to update their online inventory. You can also ask them to put a hold on the item. This is so you are sure to have it once you get there.
Holiday shopping is a big financial challenge for a lot of people. A lot of them starts to get too overwhelmed when out and about doing their shopping. They come home with more paper bags than they can carry. They also start to feel anxious about the incoming credit card statement at the end of the month. There are ways to go about shopping and tips as well to help you lower down your holiday expenses.