It’s not bad to give out gifts to others, but consumers should also be mindful of their budget.
The Christmas holiday is one of the most festive and expensive holidays that people celebrate all over the world. People plan thoroughly what to gift, decorate, and eat during this season. However, most tend to forget that they should also keep track of their expenses during the holidays. There are ways to celebrate the festivities of the season without being broke afterwards.
• Make a budget.
Before heading to major malls for a shopping spree, making a budget first can diminish the amount one can spend. The shopper should set a budget that they can adhere to. The budget should include the necessary things for the holidays such as the gifts, the decorations, the food, the parties, and the greeting cards. The budget should be realistic in accordance to the person’s salary or spending capabilities. There are some holiday budget worksheets that can be downloaded online as a guide.
• Make a list.
The list should include which items to buy and whom to buy gifts for. It helps if the consumer knows the interests of the people they’re giving gifts to. But, it is not necessary to give out gifts to every single acquaintance. The shopper should break down the list into family members, distant relatives, peers, and close friends. When the list is done, the shopper should allot a budget for each person on the list.
Some adjustments would be necessary if the estimated amount for all the gifts exceeds the planned budget.
Having a list while shopping can lessen the impulsive habits of some shoppers and make the shopper stick to their budget.
• Shop early.
The holiday rush can affect one’s mentality when shopping. Doing last-minute shopping can limit the supply of the items that the shopper plans to buy, which can then lead to spending more than the planned budget. The prices of some hard-to-find items even go up as the days get closer to the holiday.
Shopping early therefore reduces one’s stress and expenses in catching up on their holiday purchases. When shopping early, the consumer can also lessen the time spent in looking for the best deals. Lower shipping fees will also apply when purchasing online at an earlier time.
• Seek alternative gift options.
As the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” Gifts shouldn’t be too lavish and expensive because the holiday is more about being good to other people. There are other ways to give gifts, such as giving home-baked pastries and cookies. Those who enjoy hobbies such as painting, knitting, writing, sewing, and others can make personalized gifts to their loved ones.
• Find another additional source of income.
If one is really willing to give so much to others during the season, one can look for other options to earn extra income. The extra money can come from working on a sideline job or having a garage sale.
• Take advantage of discounts and sales.
There are some shops, brands, and malls that announce their sales and promos as early as November.
It helps if the consumer is following the social media accounts of shops to stay updated on these announcements. The reward programs of credit and debit cards can also land the shopper some discounts and freebies that they can claim.
• Compare prices.
The shopper should take time to compare prices of prospect items to see which shop offers a better price for the item. Shoppers can check the price of their desired items available on different online shops.
• Be wary of deceitful deals.
Some retailers trick the consumers into thinking that an item will be distributed in a limited time or a one-time-only deal. Some even sell low-quality products at a higher price because of the holiday rush.
• Make early online orders.
When making online purchases for the holidays, it is recommended that the shopper make an early purchase because online shops tend to charge a higher shipping fee as the holiday nears. Additionally, there would be more time for a refund or an exchange if the purchased item has damages or defects.
• Plan holiday travels months earlier.
Those who plan on traveling during the holidays should organize their trip months ahead of the scheduled date/s. Although there are some last-minute deals and discounts that shoppers can take advantage of during the holidays, it can be tricky to those who have tight schedules. Some of these promos also get sold out faster. Cardholders can also avail their airline miles rewards.
• Pay full in cash or with a credit card.
Those who are very keen on sticking to their budget can use cash to pay for their purchases. Credit card holders can use their cards too, but they must pay in full and on time to avoid interest charges.