The big holiday season is right around the corner, and with it comes many celebrations and festivities. Temptations to overspend, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are rampant, and navigating the “season of joy” without breaking the bank can be a tricky endeavor indeed. To help you save money during this time, Clayton, Paulk, & Associates are offering holiday spending tips to make sure you start off the new year financially sound.
While it is true that the holiday shopping season is a great time to save money with the many deals that stores are offering shoppers, you should always keep in mind why those proprietors are being so “generous”. The goal is to get you in the store for that one deal, then trick you into spending more of your hard-earned money on frivolous trinkets. The urge to do so can be strong, but with a good strategy and a little commitment, you can walk out of the dizzying maze of goodies and emerge with the item you actually entered the store to get.
To achieve this lofty goal, it is important to create a holiday budget. This should include any gifts that you will be purchasing for friends and family, including stocking gifts, Christmas gifts, Hanukkah presents, host/hostess gifts for any parties or dinners that you are invited to, and the cost of cards, wrapping paper, and bows as well.
In addition, you will want to factor in how it will cost you for holiday and seasonal decorations, as well as the cost of food for any dinners you are planning on hosting (think Thanksgiving and Christmas).
Once you have your budget in hand, it is time to start filling in the shopping lists. Divvy up how much you plan on spending for each person and each gift and jot down any gift ideas you have for them. The goal is to create your entire shopping list before you head out to the malls. This is crucial for two reasons.
For starters, having your list will make it easier to get in and out of stores without purchasing extraneous “just in case” gifts. These extra gifts are normally overkill and can quickly blow any budget you had. Stick to your list and avoid the temptations.
Second, having a list before you begin shopping affords you the opportunity to search online for the best prices before you hit the streets. Again, this is an excellent way to save money and pad your budget in case you do decide to splurge a little extra.
Another thing to consider is your budget after the holidays are over. If you decide to put your purchases on a credit card, be aware that you will be paying a premium for those gifts (by way of interest rates) and will be taking on the burden of extra debt for those items. We strongly recommend that you pay cash for any gifts you buy. Not only does this make sense for the reasons above, but it will also be another preventative for overspending.