It’s that time of year again – the holiday buzz is in the air, and with that comes the frenzy of gift-giving season. This can be a particularly stressful time for some, especially those looking to be careful with their spending. Even for those who aren’t on a budget, it’s always a good idea to plan out your holiday shopping and manage expenses effectively.
Overspending during the holidays can be easy to achieve without even realizing it, so we’ve laid out our top tips to help you maintain a strategic spending plan this year. It’s holiday spending and budgeting made easy. Your wallet will thank you!
Be proactive and plan ahead.
There are several ways you can get a jump start on your holiday shopping, spending, and budgeting. First, set yourself a maximum spending limit. From there, it’s helpful to jot down a list of all the family, friends, colleagues, and others you intend to purchase gifts for, then assign each of them an appropriate dollar amount that each add up to your total budget limit. Be mindful to account for any holiday expenses you will incur outside of gifts as well, such as decorations, traveling, or food and beverages for holiday get-togethers.
Planning ahead also applies to the shopping itself. Waiting until the last minute forces you to scramble for the perfect gift just in time, which can make it much easier to go over budget and will in turn add unnecessary stress to your plate. In 2021 especially, struggles with the supply chain may impact what products will be available on the shelves, so getting your shopping done early is key.
As you buy each gift, stay on top of your account statements and double check that you’ve stayed within budget and you’re still on track to maintain your spending limit.
Utilize online shopping.
Not only can you find an extensive assortment of gifts online that can be ordered straight to your door but shopping online also allows you to compare prices. If you think you’ve found the perfect gift, you may be able to find it online or at a different store for a cheaper price.
During the holidays, special deals and sales are always evolving. And while most are aware of the craze of “shopping holidays” like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, most stores offer deals all season long that will save you just as much as a one-day special. When you shop online, you can be on the lookout for sales on different websites as well as companies that are offering in-store specials.
Additionally, shopping online allows you to use tools that automatically identify whether there are any coupons available for the site you are shopping on. Some examples are browser add-ons like Honey, Shopper.com, and Capital One Shopping.
Consider making DIY gifts.
Gifts that you can make at home may not be suitable for everyone on your list, but it may be a great option for some, and it will save you money if you are on a tight budget. On top of that, homemade gifts can be even more meaningful than store-bought gifts.
There are so many options for DIY gifts — a simple search will bring up thousands — that are easy, affordable, and even fun. You could make a homemade candle or jewelry, cook a nice dinner or bake some delicious holiday treats, make a unique ornament or picture frame — the list goes on!
Bring on the holidays!
While there can be a lot of moving parts to holiday shopping, spending, and budgeting – and it can be overwhelming – you don’t have to drain your bank account to find the perfect gifts. We always recommend setting aside money year-round to account for holiday shopping, especially if you know you will have a few pricier gifts to purchase, to ensure you won’t deplete all your hard-earned money in the span of one or two months. As the holidays are quickly approaching for this year, using the tools above will help you maintain a budget that is comfortable for you and will keep the stress away.
Happy Holidays from Republic Bank of Chicago! For more money managing information, talk to a banker at 800-526-9127 or browse our other posts.