Take advantage of the time to save and make money for the holidays. Look at what you can afford to put aside every pay check and stick to it. When things are difficult, try to find other ways to make extra money on the side. Tis the season of the side hustle. You’ll be surprised what you can do. This is the most important tip you can follow, as it gives you the foundation to take advantage of all the options available to you this holiday shopping season.
2.) Set a Gift Budget
Decide how much you want to spend on gifts. As part of the consumer debt settlement planning process, you should know your personal cash flow and know how much money you can afford. Once you have selected an amount, do not try to increase it. List the people for whom you want to buy gifts. Then go through it and cross people off. This is a time of generosity... but generosity within your means. While you might want to buy a gift for your spouse or best friend, you can skip a neighbor who only throws you shade, or a cousin you haven’t seen in years.
3.) Devise a Shopping Plan
The best way to budget your holiday shopping is to learn how to get more for your money. A great way to do this is by shopping with reward credit cards. Shopping with rewards credit cards are cards that literally reward you for your purchases. They can be issued by a particular store, a catalog, a shopping center or a bank. As you spend on your rewards credit card, you rack up points that can often be used for discounts, gift certificates to the store, or even cash - so you can get more for your money.
4.) Use Cash Instead of a Credit Card
On that note, its also too easy to exceed your budget with holiday shopping if you make purchases using a credit card. If credit cards are a weakness for you, use the total amount you have planned for your purchase - and use cash for these purchases. If you are shopping online, make use of your debit card, which is linked to your checking account, and those purchases will already be paid for. More importantly, you can keep a list or a simple spreadsheet for your purchases to let you know that you are keeping to your intended budget as humanly possible. Keep this list in your wallet or purse so its always available to cross off purchases as you make them, or to make sure that you‘re sticking with your plan. Yas, budget queen!
5.) Get Creative
Being creative with gifts is essential during the holiday shopping season (aka going the homemade route). And being crafty can be a great way to add a personal touch to your holiday shopping list - especially for the one who has everything. The holiday season is a great time to put those years of art school to use. Or, maybe you've always wanted to pick up quilting, candle making or even baking - the holidays are a good time to pursue new ventures! Just make sure you have the talent for your new crafting adventure... well before Christmas Eve.
6.) Use Coupons
The stigma of using coupons has seemed to disappear in these difficult times. However, many people don’t know that there are tons of resources online that can help you save big. Many retailers offer discounts online because they know that people fear the rush of holiday shopping. Look for reliable coupons online, or for couponing apps on Iphone & Android. You can end up saving hundreds of dollars if you use the right coupon. And we all know a little savings goes a long way, okay...
7.) Shop Early & Often
It seems like the norm is to procastinate until the last minute, and then head into a last dash for gifts just before Christmas Eve. Even if you used to have the resources to do so before, times have changed my friends. Take full advantage of the shopping season right after Thanksgiving, up until Christmas. This allows you to search for great sales and find items that may not be in stock later on. Starting early, and taking the time to do well, will certainly help you save money in the long run.
8.) Do Your Research
There is nothing worse than buying a gift at a high price just to see another retailer sell it cheaper. Before going to the stores, do your homework and compare the prices of gifts you can buy. From newspaper advertising, to online shopping that offers free delivery & other vacation deals, research and create a "plan of attack" to help your money work harder for you.
9.) Look to Cut Holiday Costs
Try to reduce non-essential purchases from your holiday shopping. This could mean that maybe this year you don’t aim to have the largest Christmas light display, or you don’t try to feed half the world’s population for Chanukah dinner. These choices allow you to free up money to buy gifts without exceeding your budget. This does not mean that you have to reduce your holiday experience. For example, a good idea is to save money by making crafty, DIY holiday decor. Channel your inner Martha Stewart. You‘ll still make your house festive for the holidays, and you‘ll save money at the same time.