The holidays can be stressful enough with all of the family visits, crowded malls, not to mention the empty wallet when it is finally over. According to a recent survey by the American Research Group, shoppers are planning on spending $929 on gifts this holiday season, up from $882 last year. That is what they planned on spending, so what will you actually spend? Try a few ways to help make this holiday season more affordable.
Create a Holiday Budget
If you have no idea what are actually able to afford compared to what you are spending this holiday season, then you are in for a rude awakening when the credit card bills starting rolling in. To avoid starting 2017 deep in the hole, you should create a budget first. Take note of every gift you need to buy for every person to buy for, so you are able to figure out how much to spend on each with your available funds.
Think Outside the Box
This is where you may need to get a bit creative and use your crafting skills. If there are those that you should still get gifts for but may be a little short, then consider making gifts yourself, coming from the heart and costing your time instead of money. You do not have to paint pictures, but homemade picture frames, pillows, or blankets could actually go a long way and be of use to someone throughout the entire year.
Re-Gifting Can Be Our Little Secret
Before you head out and start to fill up your car with gifts and rack up the credit cards, take an inventory around you house and see if you have anything unopened that you do not want that could be used a gift for someone else. Unless you give the gift back to the original purchaser, no one has to know. You can save a few bucks from your holiday budget, or will give you a cushion for the extra spending that you probably will make anyways.
The Earlier You Start, the Better
To avoid waiting to the last minute and blowing all of your available funds on the first things you see, the earlier you start, the more successful you will be this holiday season. By careful planning you will buy the perfect gifts for each and every person, not leaving anyone out. Going out in a mad panic the Christmas Eve only benefits the store from taking your money, as neither you or your gift receiver will be happy with random presents.
Try Not to Go Overboard
Even if you have carefully created a budget and planned out every aspect of your shopping spree, probably the most difficult to stick to is not going overboard and overbudget, after all it is the giving season. Stick to your gift spending limits and avoid any extra purchases to try and add a larger smile on their face. If you track spending as you go, you will know who is crossed off the list and what available funds you have remaining. I just went into my victoria secret credit card login the other day and realized just how overboard I had been going. Sometimes logging into your bank and credit card accounts be an a quicker eye opener to your spending. Sometimes just taking a cold shower is the best method for cutting expenses.