Don’t Wait – Start Saving For the Holidays Now.
Posted by Steph Perine on Aug 03, 2018
The holiday season may still be several months away, but it’s never too early to begin planning your holiday shopping budget.
By setting a budget early on and sticking with it, you can avoid over-spending while still taking care of everyone on your list. And of course, when you plan and tackle the majority of your shopping ahead of time, you can better enjoy the holiday season with family, friends, and loved ones. Not sure where to get started when it comes to planning your holiday spending? We’ve got a few practical tips that can make all the difference.
Start With a Realistic Budget
First and foremost, figure out how much you can realistically afford to spend on gifts this holiday season. Creating a budget (and adhering to it strictly) will help you avoid over-spending, racking up unnecessary credit card debt, and stressing yourself out over finances by the time the new year rolls around.
One way to create a holiday shopping budget is to write out a list of everyone you’d like to purchase gifts for. Then, for each person on your list, decide on a monetary spending limit. Another option for creating a budget would be to set a total dollar-amount limit and then dividing that up evenly among the people on your shopping list.
Make sure you also have a practical way of tracking your spending to ensure you’re sticking with your budget. You might consider, for example, creating a spreadsheet that allows you to track how much you’ve spent thus far in relation to how much you have left to spend.
Set Aside a Little Each Month
Once you have a better idea of how much you can afford to spend on holiday shopping, it’s time to begin saving! The earlier you begin setting aside money for the holiday shopping season, the better shape you’ll be in. And ideally, by setting aside all the money you need to do your holiday shopping ahead of time, you can avoid having to use your credit card or otherwise go into debt with your purchases.
Think about it: even if you start saving $100 per month starting in August, you’d easily have several hundred dollars saved up by the time the holidays rolled around. The key is to start saving as early in the game as possible!
Begin Shopping Early
Just as it’s wise to start setting aside money early on, it’s also a good idea to begin your holiday shopping early. Not only will this allow you to take advantage of sales leading up to the holidays, but it will also save you a lot of time and stress as the busy and hectic holiday shopping season approaches. Rather than spending your time rushing around and trying to shop for everyone on your list at the last minute, you’ll be able to relax and focus on what truly matters this holiday season: spending time with loved ones.
If you plan on shopping early, try to brainstorm gift ideas for items that would likely be on sale in the months leading up to the holidays. For example, if you have a teacher friend in your life, why not use all the back-to-school sales of July and August as an opportunity to stock up on some classroom supplies for him or her? Seasonal items like these can make great gifts—and if you can time your purchases accordingly, you can save a great deal of money by starting your shopping a little early.
Resist the Holiday Shopping Hype
If you decide to save and complete the majority (or all!) of your shopping early, do your best to resist the “hype” and temptation to do any additional shopping during the holiday season. There may be some good deals out there in November and December, but if you’ve already reached your spending limit and have covered everyone on your shopping list, there is absolutely no need to continue spending your money. There will be a lot of pressure from retailers to spend more, but at the end of the day, it’s better to stick with your budget. You’ll thank yourself when the new year rolls around and you’re not buried in credit card debt from holiday shopping. Did you know that the average American accumulates around $1,000 in credit card debt during the holidays alone? Don’t be one of these people.
The holiday shopping season can be a stressful time, especially for those who are worried about their finances. Fortunately, by implementing a few practical tips, you can avoid over-spending and still take care of everyone on your shopping list. From there, you can enter the new year in a better place financially and spend less time stressing out about paying off any holiday credit card debt.