Christmas décor lines the shelves at local stores, temperatures are dipping, and advent calendars are ready to go. Holiday shopping can be enjoyable for some, while others find it stress-inducing—oftentimes thanks to skyrocketing prices. If you’re on a strict budget and want to keep costs low this holiday season, keep these tips in mind as you head out to shop.
Create a Detailed Budget
You can’t stay on budget if you don’t have one. Use budgeting app Mint to create a detailed view of the money you can spend this holiday season. With a specific number in mind, you can avoid the holiday spending hangover.
Make a Shopping List
Create a master list of all the people you need to buy for: family members and friends that you exchange gifts with every year. Don’t forget to consider the add-on presents that tend to come up during the holiday season, like hostess gifts for the holiday parties on your agenda and white elephant gifts for the office exchange. Next to each gift recipient’s name, write out a specified budget for the gift. Further breaking down your spending plans this way can save you a lot of money in the long run. Don’t forget to bring your list with you as you head to the mall. With a list on hand, you can take advantage of any deals that pop up during your shopping adventures, and help you avoid buying all of your gifts at the last minute.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Don’t wait until Christmas Eve to start your holiday shopping. Spend the weeks leading up to Christmas wisely. The sooner you have your gifts purchased and wrapped, the better you’ll feel. A last-minute rush may see you ignoring your budgetary concerns in favor of speed, so start early.
Get Rewards for Your Spending
You’ll do a great deal of shopping this holiday season, so make sure you’re getting rewards from your credit card. If you don’t already have a card that offers spending benefits, check out the Chase Sapphire Card.
Take Advantage of Free Gift Wrapping
If you’re shopping at department stores that offer free gift wrapping, wait a few extra minutes and have your presents wrapped up and ready to go. Don’t waste money buying rolls of wrapping paper that you won’t use, and save yourself from the hazard of paper cuts.
Keep Shipping Costs in Mind When Online Shopping
It might seem like online shopping offers better prices, but you have to factor in the cost of shipping your presents (and consider how long it’ll take for these gifts to be delivered). Take note of delivery fees or shipping costs to avoid any unsavory surprises.
Take Advantage of Discounts and Coupons
There’s no limit to the discounts and coupons available around the holiday season. If you’re looking for fashion gifts, take advantage of Burlington Coat Factory coupons to find something stylish for everyone on your shopping list. If you’re searching for gadgets that don’t break the bank, shop TechForLess.com.
Re-Gifting Isn’t Off-Limits
If you received gifts last year that remain unopened or unused, consider re-gifting these presents. Have an unworn watch that you know your cousin would appreciate? Wrap it up and gift it this Christmas Eve. It’s not the money spent—it’s the thought that counts.
Consider Homemade Gifts
If you want to keep costs low, consider gifting your loved ones with homemade presents. Consider your skills; do you make a mean salsa that friends and family go crazy over? Spend a Saturday cooking up a big batch of your salsa recipe, and place it in individual mason jars. If you’re feeling extra festive, you can create a jar label and adhere it for a specialized touch that your loved ones will appreciate.