Planning for the holiday shopping season is not hard but will take a bit of discipline. Use these tips so you don’t overspend your budget.
If the excitement of the holiday season usually gives way to piles of post-holiday bills and debt, you might want to change the way you do things this year. With so much emphasis on shopping and spending, it is easy to go over your budget and regret it later.
Doing some advance planning now can benefit you later. Here’s how.
Set a Budget
No matter how many people are on your gift list, your first step is to set a budget. Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and make a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for. Set a realistic gift budget for each person then add it all up.
Pull Out the Cash Now
Once you have established a total budget for all your holiday spending, head to the bank and pull the cash out now. If you don’t have enough cash on hand to cover your holiday spending, you can’t afford all the gifts you have identified.
After you’ve pulled the cash out of your account, separate it into envelopes according to amount. Label each envelope with the name of the recipient and keep the cash in a safe place like a wall safe or fireproof box.
Check Out the Weekly Ads
Retailers pull out all the stops and slash prices when the holiday season rolls around, which can help your cash stretch further. Watch for bargains for the gifts that are on your list. When you find one, grab your envelope and head to the store.
Check each recipient off your list as you go. After the gifts are bought and paid for, scratch that person off your list and move on to the next one. Continue your savvy shopping and money-saving ways until your gift list is complete.
If you managed to be an extra good shopper this year, reward yourself by depositing the money you saved back into your bank account. Then use it to get a head start on next year or treat yourself to something special.