The holiday season is just around the corner. Holidays are a special opportunity to spend time with loved ones while exchanging gifts and creating lasting memories. However, for some people, the holidays are stressful. The financial burdens of traveling to see family and shopping for presents can put an unwelcome strain on their budget. These smart holiday shopping tips will show you how to buy holiday gifts without going over your budget.
How to avoid overspending & save money on holiday shopping
Use a Netspend Prepaid Card to help you stay on budget
Buying gifts with a credit card can lead to overspending. The resulting debt can take months (if not years) to pay off while you're being charged high interest rates. By using a prepaid card from Netspend, you only spend what you've loaded onto the card. With a set amount of money to spend, it helps you to be more mindful of your spending while avoiding holiday debt.
Limit the number of gifts you buy
Purchasing gifts for everyone in the family can get expensive in a hurry. This is especially true for larger families. One way to avoid overspending is to limit your gift-giving.
Some families limit gift-giving only to children under a certain age, while others do a gift exchange. Everyone is assigned a name for the gift exchange and each person becomes a "Secret Santa" for their assigned person. To keep the gift exchange from getting out of hand and encourage creativity, it helps to place a limit on the amount you can spend, such as $20 or $50.
Another option is to make a White Elephant game out of it. Everyone buys a gift that is a good fit for anyone. Then you take turns opening presents. When it's your turn, you can pick one from the stack or "steal" one that's already been opened. Gifts can only be stolen twice before they are off-limits. This game creates a bit of suspense and strategy for the festivities.
If you're very cash-strapped, let your friends and family know that you're skipping presents this year. It may avoid awkward situations where they've bought you a gift, and you weren't able to return the gesture.
Use shopping portals to save money
When shopping online, use a price comparison portal to compare prices and find coupons, like Google Shopping or BizRate.
You may also earn miles, points, or cash back through a shopping portal. CashbackMonitor.com shows a dashboard highlighting reward opportunities for websites you may be planning to shop.
By shopping around, you also might find free shipping on your purchase. This lowers the total amount you have to spend. Although one site may be more expensive, it may offer a lower overall price when you factor in free shipping.
Buy discounted gift cards
Before clicking on the "buy" button, one of our favorite holiday shopping tips is to buy discounted gift cards. Gift cards are popular gifts, but studies show that billions of dollars of gift cards go unused. People are willing to sell their unused gift cards at a discount so they can spend the money at other stores. At websites like CardPool.com and Raise.com, you can buy and sell unused gift cards. By buying someone's unused gift card, you save money, and they get to buy something else that they want more.
Wait for sales before you buy
Holiday shopping is a competitive time for retailers. If you can time your purchases to align with their sales, you can save a lot of money. Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday offer terrific deals that are budget-friendly.
Because gift cards have become so popular, retailers also offer great deals right after the holidays to encourage people to spend those gift cards. This is also the perfect time to turn unwanted gifts into gift cards you can use or sell.
Create a savings account dedicated to gift-giving
This won't help you for this year, but this strategy is great at avoiding holiday debt in the future. Create your ideal holiday shopping budget and divide the number by 12. It is generally easier to come up with a small deposit every month than a big number all at once. Deposit your monthly amount each month into your savings account and let it earn interest throughout the year.
When you're ready to purchase your presents, withdraw the money to make your purchases. To keep yourself on budget and avoid going into debt, load only the money saved onto your prepaid card. Then use it to make your holiday purchases.
The bottom line
Although holiday gift-giving can result in a debt hangover, it doesn't have to be that way. By using tools like Netspend Prepaid Cards, shopping portals, and discounted gift cards, you can avoid overspending while saving money on your purchases. And as you plan for next year, create a savings plan dedicated to next year's spending. This will help you to stay out of debt and help you to avoid paying interest on your holiday shopping.