The holidays are right around the corner and for most Americans that means the beginning of a hectic holiday season. Here are some pointers so that you can make the gift buying season easier for your wallet and your stress level.
1. Create a budget and stick to it. Make a list of all of the people you need to buy for this year, set a spending limit for each gift, and then follow it!
2. Use credit cards in a smart way. Take advantage of earning airlines miles or points only if you are able to pay the balance in full. Many cards offer promotional periods for purchases. Just be sure that the monthly payment needed to pay the balance in full by the end of the promotion period fits within your monthly expenses.
3. Resist the urge to buy something for yourself. We all know that it’s fun to buy something for ourselves while we are gleefully spending money on others. Resist the temptation and your wallet will thank you later.
4. Be strategic about what you buy and when you buy it. Be sure to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Do your research, especially if it’s a big-ticket item.
5. Consider a homemade gift. Many times, our lists get long with co-workers or teachers and it can be overwhelming. A simple homemade goody or gift, such as cookies or an ornament, can show them that you care and not break the bank.
6. Use price-tracking apps or extensions designed to help you save money. Apps such as CamelCamelCamel will track items on Amazon and then alert you when the price drops. Wikibuy is another popular extension you can add to your browser which will then apply discount codes for several online retailers.
7. Do gift name draws. Nothing is more stressful than having to buy for everyone in a large family or office event. Suggesting everyone draws a name for someone to buy for might help alleviate the stress on your shopping list. And others might appreciate it as well!
8. Start saving for next year! Budget and track spending for your gifts this year and then start saving in January for next year’s gifts. If you normally spend $1,000 on holiday gifts, you can start saving $100 per month and have plenty of funds come November.