The Holiday season is upon once again, and with that comes the frenzy of gift shopping. According to industry experts at Investopedia, Americans are projected to spend $920 per person on holiday gifts this year. It can be rather tempting to just go to the malls and stores to browse and purchase whatever gifts catch your eye but this can wring out your wallet very quickly. It helps to create a plan that will guide you this holiday season and help you stay within your specific budget. To help you make the most of your hard earned money we have compiled a few ways to create a plan before shopping this holiday season.
Set a limit, and work from there
Don’t look for items first and then calculate how much everything will cost because this is a guaranteed way to end up blowing your budget. Figure out how much money you are comfortable spending on gifts and go from there. If you have a total budget of $500 dollars, only research items that stay within budget and add them to your shopping list. It could also help to save a little from each paycheck throughout the year to fund your shopping list. By the time the holidays roll around you will already have a stash to shop with.
Shop throughout the year
One of the best ways to reduce overspending is to make a list of people you want to give gifts to and purchase them intermittently throughout the year. Have you ever been casually strolling through a mall and saw something you thought a loved one might like? Well that is the perfect time to pick it up and save it in a closet give to them once the holidays roll back around. Surveys have shown that shoppers who procrastinate and wait until the last minute to buy gifts usually end up overspending during the holidays. That is because shoppers get desperate as stores are running out of stock and they end up buying whatever is left no matter how pricey it is. Another benefit of shopping throughout the year is being able to do price comparisons across stores.
Personalized gifts go a long way
Do you remember the last time someone gifted you something that had your name or monogram on it? How did it make you feel? Warm and cared for right? If you want to make your loved ones feel warm and fuzzy about your gifts without breaking the bank, consider personalized gifts. Choosing to shop for personalized gifts could save you a lot of money using niche stores such as Etsy or Ebay.
Choose to regift
Despite popular belief, it is very wise to regift items that you know will just collect dust if you kept them. There is no point in holding on to useless items that could make a great stocking stuffer for someone else the next year. If the item is still in a brand new or lightly used condition it makes perfect sense to rewrap it and pass it along (to someone who isn’t close to the original gift giver, of course).
All in all, don’t let the pressures of the holiday season allow you to drive yourself into avoidable debt. Create a full proof strategy and budget that will maximize the best way to spend your money and stick to it. Get ahead of the busy holiday season so that you have time to plan.