During the holiday shopping season, you’re usually assaulted with a bevy of sales promotions and special deals on a daily basis. The temptation to take advantage of so many seemingly good bargains is strong, and often leads to a lot of overspending. But there are several tips you can follow to avoid overspending and still take advantage of all those great deals.
1. Make a List
The first thing you need to do is take a page from Santa’s book: make a list and check it twice. Write down exactly who you need to shop for and what you would like to get them. If you aren’t sure, set a dollar amount that you might spend on them. When the list is complete, you should have a good idea of how much you expect to spend, and you can make adjustments if necessary.
2. Check the List Against Your Budget
You may find that you don’t have enough spending money to cover everything on your list. If this happens, trim some of the presents from the list or find other ways to save money for gifts, such as skipping restaurant meals and other splurges for as long as necessary.
3. Try to Use Cash
When you spend cash, you know exactly how much you have left. Using credit may be more convenient, but it’s also an easy way to lose track of spending and wind up with credit card debt that can’t be paid off in a timely manner.
Tip: Some special sales require you to use a store credit card. It is usually possible to simply charge $1 or $5 to the card for your purchase, and pay the rest using cash. Just ask the sales representative.
4. Get Shopping Done as Early as Possible
The longer you wait to do your holiday shopping, the more urgent it becomes. This may cause you to start making purchases you originally didn’t intend to, just to get the list completed. Shopping early enables you to do so calmly and rationally, so that you can think carefully about each purchase.
5. Look for Online Deals
If you know something is a certain price in a particular store, look online to compare prices at other stores. You can often find better internet deals, and during the holidays many online stores also offer free shipping or additional discounts.
Of course it can be tempting to spend more than you wanted to during the holiday season, but by following the tips above, you’re sure to stay close to your budget and avoid overspending.