Holiday Shopping Tips and Giving Gifts on a Budget

1. Make a list. Jot down a list of the persons that you wish to give a holiday gift.

2. Set a Limit. Look at your budget to see what amount you can afford to spend in total and then set limits for the amounts you will spend on each person.

3. Do your research. Many retailers are offering holiday deals, but are the deals really a good buy? Be sure to comparison shop and look online to see if you can get a better deal than the sale price. Be careful to factor in shipping costs if making online purchases. When you’re done browsing prices do a quick search for the name of the item and the term coupon or sale. Often times you can find coupons or greater discounts by using this tactic.

4. Plan your purchases. Decide on what items you will buy online and which items you will purchase at local retailers.

5. Making purchases. Be mindful to stick to your list and only buy items that you have planned on. Avoid the temptation to make impulse purchases as they can blow your budget in a flash.

At the checkout, always be sure to check your receipts to make sure all of your sale items and discounts were applied.  Also ask for gift boxes if they are available to save in wrapping costs.

6. Don’t open store credit or use a credit card. Making purchases on credit can be tempting but unless you can repay the balance in full before the next billing cycle it can cost you. Instead use layaway programs, or spread out the cost by splitting up your purchases to different pay periods when you’ll have the cash available.

7. Lastly be creative and remember to give from the heart and not from the wallet. Making gifts or giving things that have a personal touch can be better than expensive gifts. Sometimes giving items like a family photo or putting together a video of family moments can be a better gift. Often giving the gift of time and doing activities with friends and family can be better than buying an expensive gift. After all who really remembers the watch, jewelry or electronics they got for Christmas ten years ago? But we can all remember special moments with family and doing fun holiday activities like making cookies, having dinners, and looking through old photos.

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