The holiday shopping period can be one of the most expensive times of the year for many families. People often overspend and go over budget, leading to financial problems in the new year.
If you’re worried about overspending and how to afford gifts, food, and other holiday-related purchases, keep reading. We’ve put together some super simple money-saving tips to help you do your holiday shopping on a budget this year.
8 money-saving tips for the holidays
1. Set a strict budget
The first step to saving money during the holidays is to set a clear budget. Work out how much you can set aside realistically for holiday shopping this year. Write down that number.
If you’re purchasing gifts for multiple people, write down everyone you’re buying for and work out how much you want to spend on each person.
Next, do some research on gifts that fit into those mini budgets for each person. Try restricting your shopping to certain price ranges for each recipient. It’s so easy to overspend on one person, feel guilty, and then overspend on another.
2. Track purchases
The best way to stick within your budget is to track all your holiday spending on gifts, food, and decorations.
A simple way to do this is to have a spreadsheet or use a budgeting app that lets you categorize spending. That way, you can see how much you have left to spend so you can avoid going over budget before it’s too late.
3. Compare prices online
If you’re shopping in physical stores, a good habit is to check for alternate prices online. When you find an item, check the price at different retailers or on a shopping comparison site from your phone.
You may find that the store you’re currently in is charging way more than another online store is. In a lot of cases, you can get multiple items much cheaper elsewhere, so try to avoid buying everything in the same place simply for convenience.
4. Make personalized gifts
Another way to stick to a strict budget is to make gifts rather than buy them. Often, homemade, personalized gifts are appreciated just as much (or more!) than a store-bought one.
Rather than buying something you’re not sure the person wants, create something you know they’ll really love and can’t get anywhere else.
You could make food gifts like homemade cookies wrapped up in a gift box. For those who are a bit more artistic, you could create artwork, crafts, or ornaments.
5. Avoid shopping sprees
While you should be on the lookout for holiday shopping deals, be careful!
One of the top mistakes people make around this time of year is to go overboard and buy everything in one day. That day is usually Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But the truth is those days often don’t have the fantastic deals they claim.
Many of the deals you see aren’t much different from the usual price. However, shoppers can get caught up in the Black Friday mania and forget to price check.
6. Check out online coupons
Online and in-store sales aren’t the only way to save money on holiday spending. You can check for online coupon codes for many of your favorite stores.
Consider installing Honey, an extension you can add to your browser. It works by automatically finding coupons for different online stores.
7. Find savings in other areas
If you want to make your budget go a bit further, you could try cutting costs in other areas in the run-up to the holidays.
Some people like to avoid spending on unnecessary things like new clothes, alcohol, nights out, or restaurant food for a month or so to save some extra cash.
8. Start saving earlier
If you haven’t already started saving for the holidays, consider doing it much earlier next year. That way, you can put away just a small amount each month and have a solid budget to work with in December.
Some people even start as early as January, putting away a few dollars a month so they have a bigger budget to work with when the holiday season arrives.
Shop smart this holiday season
Holiday shopping can be expensive, but you can keep it under control with some proper planning and tracking your spending. Make sure you’re working with a clear budget in mind whenever you start your holiday shopping. These holiday shopping tips are a great way to keep your spending minimal without missing out.