The holiday season brings us good food, family time, decorations, parties, and Santa Claus. It also brings a great deal of stress for some people. One of the leading stressors of the holiday season is gift buying. There is a certain level of expectation (usually self-inflicted) that some people feel regarding buying presents and making sure they are giving everyone on their list that “perfect gift”. I would prefer the holiday season be filled with family, friends and making memories, but ultimately, shopping madness seems to take over for a lot of folks. Therefore, here are a few things you can do to make sure your holiday shopping doesn’t wear you down and break the bank:
- Have a list and identify a budget. Make sure everyone is on your list that you intend to buy a gift for and then decide how much you will spend on each one of them. The list and the budget are the easy parts. Sticking to it can be the difficult part. Save receipts and keep a constant calculation of how much you are spending on each person. This will help you stay within the budget you created for yourself and ensure that you do not dip into other dollars that are designated for other things. More importantly, this keeps you from piling up unwanted credit card debt. It is frightening the number of parents who are willing to go into debt during the holidays just so their children will be able to open every gift on their wish list.
- Find those deals! Who doesn’t love a good deal? There are plenty of deals and specials this time of year. Finding things on sale can really help make your holiday budget a reality. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both days that you can capitalize on the best sales of the year.
- Shop online and save time (and gas). Speaking of Cyber Monday, Online shopping is becoming more and more popular as shopping malls and strip mall stores have begun closing their doors. Not to mention the impact the pandemic has made on in-person shopping over the last two holiday seasons. Be sure to do your online shopping early enough so you can avoid overnight shipping costs. Don’t forget to check out your favorite local stores and shops as they have made it convenient to do your shopping online while still supporting your community. One advantage of having gifts delivered to your doorstep is that it allows for more time for what the season is all about…quality time with family and friends.
- How about an experience instead of a gift? The gift of time is more important than material things because it creates a memory. If you polled a large number of people and asked them what they got for Christmas in year 2005 (or any year prior to last year for that matter), you would probably get a lot of guesses and “I don’t knows”. However, that same group of people probably remember that weekend trip to the mountains, the tickets to a show or event, or even a membership to the local zoo or nature science center that you can enjoy all year long.
We hope your holiday season is full of fun, great food, and quality family time. Try these tips to ensure your holiday shopping doesn’t overwhelm you and your bank account this season.
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