Are you someone who religiously sticks to your budget all year, but it all goes out the window as soon as the holiday season rolls around? Two small words cause many of us to break our budget at the end of the year: “holiday gifts”.
Overspending holiday gifts can lead to your holidays being a time of worry and stress. In 2020, the average American spent approximately $850 on holiday gifts. However, if you are smart with your money, the holidays can really be a time of joy and not anxiety.
Here are some helpful tricks to avoid overspending during the holidays and still getting something special for everyone on your list.
1. Set a Limit
Plot out how much you can spend on each gift, and stick to it no matter what! Setting a limit may not seem like a lot of fun, but in the chaos of the holiday season, it is easy to let it slide. Without a plan, you are nearly certain to overspend; thus, take the initiative this year.
First, determine how much you can spend on gifts. Then, create a list of each person you want to present a gift to, together with a dollar amount you wish to spend on each of them and add up the total.
If the two numbers match, you have your gift-giving budget under control. However, if your wishes are bigger than your wallet, you need to get creative and cut back on how much you are spending for some people.
2. Include Your Name on the Gift List
This may seem selfish, but it is psychologically effective. Sometimes you purchase a gift for someone that you love so much you wish you had kept it. The best remedy for that is to allow a bit of extravagance for yourself.
3. Pay Cash
A great way to avoid holiday debt is to pay cash for every gift you purchase. If you use cash, you will tend to spend nearly 23 percent less than if you charge shopping on a credit card.
Credit cards are great financial tools, but they can be quite dangerous during holidays. Credit card users can end up with a holiday debt hangover that can last a long time.
Of course, you can’t use cash for online shopping, like while buying stocking stuffers for teenage boys from this site. It is recommended to use a prepaid card in such cases. You can buy prepaid cards at Walmart, convenience outlets, and many other retail stores.
Prepaid cards restrict your spending to the amount that is loaded onto the card. It is a great tool for limiting and tracking your spending. Another tip is to carry large bills so there will be less chance of using them on small impulse purchases.
4. Go with Secret Santa and e-cards
If you have a large family, purchasing gifts for everyone can compel you to spend more than you can afford and can take the joy out of giving. A fun, simple method to get around this is to arrange Secret Santa.
Here, everyone pulls out a name without revealing who it is and purchases only for that person. Normally, a moderate spending limit is imposed there, and the element of surprise during gift-exchange time adds to the fun.
E-cards are another way to secure time and money. Instead of purchasing holiday cards, find some nice e-cards online. They’re an inexpensive or free way to deliver a holiday “hello” to far-flung friends and family.
5. Give the Gift of Your Time
If you can’t afford to buy someone a gift, but really wish to give something, think about giving the gift of your time. You can mow the grass, give a free car wash, walk the dog or babysit for a friend with a hectic schedule.
An elderly person may appreciate someone doing some housework, run errands, or take them out for lunch or to a doctor’s appointment.
Handmade gifts are really nice as well. If you are already baking cupcakes for your family, preparing an additional batch for someone on your list is quite inexpensive.
6. Give Thoughtful Gifts
Some people have reached a point where they have almost everything they need. This gives you a chance to get creative and come up with a simple, thoughtful gift that is also cost-effective.
It can be a decorative pillow, tickets for a show or event, an engraved letter opener, a framed photo of a special memory, or something beautiful from a local flea market or antique mart.
7. Take Benefit of Special Sale Days
During the Holiday shopping season, there are certain days when discounts and deals abound:
- The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season.
- Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving.
- Amazon Prime Day starts on October 13.
- Free Shipping Day, December 14, is the day when many stores offer free shipping with no minimum order. Some of them also offer other special deals.
It is also a great time to snag bargains for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or other special events throughout the year.
8. Utilize Apps That Can Save Money
This holiday shopping season, take advantage of technology and consider using one of the many budgeting and money-saving apps, like Mint, to keep tabs on your spending.
You can also use apps like Rakuten, Honey, and RetailMeNot to get discounts and cash-back deals when shopping online.
However, it is easy to be lured into a bad deal when buying online during holidays. Don’t assume everything is a great deal, even when the sign says 50 or 60 percent off! Always check your phone to ensure that you are really getting a bargain. Do a Google search and do not forget to check prices on eBay, Walmart, and Amazon.
In conclusion, it is easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and spend more than you can afford. But the thrill of giving nice and expensive gifts is fleeting compared with the pressure that comes afterward when you need to pay for them all.
By planning ahead, sticking to a budget, and saving money, you can keep your spirits up way after the holiday lights go out. Happy gift-giving!