Christmas and the holidays are the season of giving.
It’s a time when people are feeling more generous and prepare gifts for their loved ones. Have you started to hunt for the best deals? Or like many of us, there is nothing under the Christmas tree yet due to the hectic work schedule. So, here are 8 easy shopping tips for busy people trying to shop on a budget for the holiday season.
1. Make a list
Prepare a list of people you plan to get gifts for. Think carefully who should be on the list and don’t feel bad to be selective. Start with your closest family members and friends, then slowly expanding your list according to your budget. This will help you manage your budget. Just don’t forget to take that list with you!
2. Make the cut, set your budget
Firstly, be honest with your own financial capability and set a realistic budget. Do you still set big budget when you’re actually living from paycheck to paycheck? Definitely not.
If you can’t trim your list and cut off anyone, consider to spread the budget thinner. For example, instead of spending P500 on every one of your cousins, maybe cut it down to half? After all, it’s the thought that counts.
Meanwhile, maybe it’s time to learn how to manage your money better.
3. Shop early
Don’t let procrastination stop you from getting the best deals! Start early and do your research online to plan out which stores to go and what items you want to buy. And see if it’s more worth it to shop online (don’t forget to check for the shipping cost!).
It can be stressful when you can’t seem to find the perfect gift and time is running out. Plus, it’s often when you aren’t looking for something that you come across the best gift for Mom or your best friend Harry.
4. Pay in cash
The best way to not get yourself in debt in to not use credit cards to buy gifts. You’ll be more aware with the cold hard cash you’re spending and stick to the budget. When you swipe a credit card, it’s easy to lose track of the amount spent and on who. Before you realize it, the sum adds up quickly.
You’ll thank yourself when the holiday season is over and you have no Christmas debts to clear.
5. Buy a combined gift
It’s great way to save money while still giving great gifts to your loved ones. By getting a slightly more pricey gift to two or more people instead of buying an item for each person individually.
- For kids: video games, play sets
- For couples: household appliances like TV, coffee machine, restaurant vouchers
- For parents: tickets to a show they like, framed family photo
6. Be creative and DIY
If you’re crafty or creative, save yourself from the mall madness and make the gifts yourself. Sew a personalized purse, bake some brownies, or make bracelets for your nieces and nephews. The sky is the limit!
If you need to learn how to create something from scratch, you will find tonnes of useful tutorials on Youtube. There’s one for just about every craft out there.
7. Shop by yourself
You’ll most likely to spend less when shopping alone, particularly if your friends aren’t good with their money. Having a shopping buddy with poor money habits can derail you from the initial budget easily by encouraging you to get something unnecessary.
How so? Imagine someone keep telling you:
- “Isn’t this the item you’ve been eyeing on for the longest time?”
- “You know what you should buy is…”
- “You would look great in this!”
8. It’s the season to give, not buy
Remind yourself: this is the season for giving, not receiving. It’s easy to get distracted when shopping for gifts for others, without realizing it, you’re asking the salesperson for your size.
If you find something you really like, add it to your wishlist first instead of buying it immediately. It might just be an impulse purchase and you don’t really need it.
In essence, Christmas and the holiday season should be a time for celebration. Don’t focus too much on the shopping and get yourself all stressed out or worse, get into debt. Spend wisely and try spending more quality time with your loved ones instead. They will definitely cherish the time you guys spend together than the price tag of your Christmas gifts.
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