The holidays are quickly approaching, and with them come costly annual gift exchanges. That is, of course, unless you can weasel your way out of them (more on that later). Friends at the office, close family, and extended relatives all expect to have a gift exchange of some kind or another.
If you don’t prepare ahead of time, even the $5 white-elephant gifts can add up quickly. Don’t let the holidays damage your finances. Preparing now, ahead of the holiday deals, can really help cut the costs.
Use these ideas to help prepare now so you can feel comfortable participating in gift exchanges while also protecting your wallet during this holiday season.
Create a Holiday Savings Account
Even though the holidays are quickly approaching, setting aside just 10% of each paycheck to help cover the costs of the holidays will really help prevent financial decline due to the expenses of the season. Preparing an account specifically for all gifts will help make sure that you don’t tap into credit as a way to participate this season.
Also, having the money set aside means that you will be able to pounce on all of the great holiday deals and extend the purchase power of your money. Participating in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are all great ways to get fantastic holiday deals if you’ve done your research.
Create a List (and Check it Twice)
Holiday deals are great, but you may end up spending more than you intended if you go shopping without a list. You might not be Santa, but you should write out a detailed list of each individual that you would like to give a gift to, what you would like to give them, and what your price range is.
Carry your list at all times in your purse or wallet so that you can cross off names as you come across great deals either online or in stores.
Watch for The Best Deals
That sign says 80% off, so you’re getting a great deal, right?! Not always. Websites like CamelCamelCamel and PriceGrabber are fantastic tools for making sure that you are getting the best price and not just getting swept away in the holiday deal mania.
CamelCamelCamel is perfect for preparing well in advance of your shopping trip, and PriceGrabber is better for the day you actually intend to take part in holiday deals.
If you find the perfect gift for a loved one but you don’t have quite enough set aside to cover the cost from savings, consider buying the item through a store which offers layaway programs. Layaway is a better alternative to using credit, and there are several stores which offer free layaway programs. Just don’t fall for it if you have to pay a huge fee. At that rate, you might as well be charging it on a credit card, which we don’t recommend by the way.
The Holidays are Coming
Knowing ahead of time what your limits are will really help when you start shopping with the holiday deals. Go into the season having money set aside and with a detailed list of desired gifts and amounts you wish to spend per person. Knowing your limits and preparing ahead of time will really help you to get the most of your money with holiday deals this season.
What are your favorite ways to prepare for holiday deals ahead of time?