How much do you plan to spend on holiday gifts this year? If you’re anything like the average American then you’ll likely fork out nearly $900 on gifts this season. Our credit counselors warn you could end up spending a lot more if you don’t budget ahead or take advantage of deals.
Waiting until the last minute, for instance, is the classic money-draining mistake. In many cases, the gift you wanted to buy is sold out so you end up spending more on something else, usually more expensive. Shoppers simply walk into the store and pick whatever looks good without understanding how that purchase will impact their finances.
Spending Tips; Create a list of all the people you think you will need to buy presents for and then decide if you really do have to get them a gift or if a card suffices.
For those people you are buying for, write down how much you want to spend on each person. Creating a list not only forces you to develop a shopping plan, but it helps you see if you’re on budget.
Secret Santa” is another good family gifting strategy. Rather than buying gifts for everyone, each family member picks one person to a buy a present for. Everyone gets one great gift and no one’s left with a massive credit card bill.
Search for a deal; Use your smart phone to compare prices. Double checks the competition’s price while in the store. If you tell the store about the deal you’ve found they’ll usually price match it—in some cases they may also take an additional 5% off.
Start saving early! While it may be too late to start saving up for this year’s holiday shopping grind, there’s nothing stopping you from putting money away in January for next year.
Don’t forget to budget for all the other Holiday events, like the Christmas party at your house or the Christmas dinner. Food and alcohol costs can add up quickly and need to be part of the budget. If you don’t save or budget, it’s easy to spend two or three times more than you wanted to.
If you need help preparing a budget contact Debt Management Credit Counseling at, www.dmcccorp.org and learn how to create a realistic budget or contact us directly as 866-724-3328.