It’s that time of the year again. That time when the holidays are fast approaching and there’s a certain feeling in the air reminding us we have to check our schedules, start making plans, buy presents…and empty our wallets. But are we really doing this again? Are we going to fall into the same old routine that puts our budgets to the test? Maybe we should do things differently for once. Maybe ‘this the season to spend less, or at least spend wisely.
We’re already going through a terrible pandemic right now, and we don’t need holiday spending stress to add to the pressure. That doesn’t mean we should give up shopping for the holidays altogether. Far from it. All we’re saying is this year might be the right time to rethink our holiday shopping habits and embrace a more budget friendly approach. Those who have enough resources will maintain a healthy bank account, and those who are already on a tight budget will survive the holiday season financially unharmed.
So, here’s how you can join the movement and start your holiday shopping spree on a shoestring budget.
Spread out your shopping sessions
Wondering how that can help you cut back on your spending when more shopping sessions usually means more money flying out of your pocket? It’s easy, really. We’ve already established you’re on a tight budget, so you don’t have the financial resources to do all your holiday shopping on the same day. If you draw the line and add up all the things you plan on buying for the holiday season, you’ll probably get a ridiculous figure. See where we’re getting? But if you take your time and go one several shopping sessions, when you have enough money, it won’t feel like you’re spending a fortune.
Of course, you’ll have to be cautious and practice some self-control while you’re out and about, refraining from adding more items than needed to your shopping cart. But thorough planning can help with that as well. Schedule your shopping sprees once every two weeks or when you find it more convenient and decide on the amount you’re going to spend each time.
On a similar note, leaving everything until the last minute won’t help you in the least. Procrastinating might be a way of life for a lot of people, but you should make an effort and try to fight this habit at least when it comes to financial planning. For one, prices may go up right before the holidays and you’ll be forced to pay more for items that you could have purchased a lot cheaper if you had the inspiration to start shopping early. There’s also a chance for prices to drop, but do you really want to push your luck? Besides, you might find that certain items are out of stock and you won’t be able to purchase them until after the holidays are over. The wisest thing is to start your holiday shopping as early as possible to avoid price fluctuations and have enough time to shop around.
Make a list…and check it twice
Who’s been naughty and who’s been nice? That’s a question for the holidays. Do you plan on buying gifts for all your family members and friends? Then you’ve got a long list to consider. Maybe it’s best to narrow down the list a bit. Not everyone is into exchanging gifts for the holidays, so you might want to take that into consideration. Write down what presents you want to buy for each person on your list and decide on a budget for each item. It’s ok if you want to spend more on your close friends than on a cousin you haven’t seen in years. Then you can hit the stores or start browsing online for the items you want to purchase.
We’ve mentioned it before, but we’re going to expand on the topic here. Shopping around for the best deals is the smartest thing to do if you want to save some money. Don’t rush to buying the first thing that catches your eye in a store. Do your research, analyze your options, and see if there are better alternatives. You can find great deals and offers on all sorts of items. For example, if you really want to purchase a gadget that’s too expensive for your budget, you can search for shop now pay later electronics, choose the item you want, and set up a payment plan that works for you. That way you won’t spend all your money on one single item, and you’ll be able to stay within budget.
Establish reasonable limits
One might think that going shopping with a budget limit in mind can take all the fun out of it. But that’s not necessarily the case. When you know exactly how much money you have available for holiday shopping, you’ll stress less about your purchases. You’ll no longer have to stop and ponder if you should buy that expensive gift or not, if you know your numbers. There’s no pressure when you know how much money you can spend. Instead of standing in front of the sores trying to decide what to do, and wasting precious time as well, establish a budget and stick to it. Then you can roam all the stores and the shopping centers in search of the perfect gifts and holiday paraphernalia.
Who says you have to spend your hard-earned money on expensive gifts? Holidays should be more about experiences and less about material goods. What’s more, maybe the people you’re planning on buying gifts for will appreciate more a small gesture than an expensive object that in time will lose its shine. Why not be a bit more creative than the rest of the world and invest in experiences with your family and friends? A family get-together, a day at the spa with your friends or something similar can be much more valuable than classic gifts.