It’s easy to forget about your budget when shopping for holiday gifts.Here are some tips to stop that from happening:
- Create a written plan for holiday spending and gift giving a month or two in advance. Include possible gifts, dollar amounts and alternative choices.
- Establish spending limits for each person on your list and start looking for bargains early.
- If it has been a challenging year financially, shrink your holiday gift list.
- Separate shopping trips (when comparing prices, quality, and value) from spending trips (when making a purchase), and resist taking cash, credit cards or a checkbook on the shopping trips.
- Wait for sales. Increased food and energy costs this year could bite into holiday sales, so sales and clearances could come earlier than usual.
- Watch the advertising and sale flyers for items you intend to purchase.
- Spend cash and avoid using credit cards. Charge cards tend to promote indiscriminate spending. Credit card users often say they had no idea how much they spent on the holidays until the credit card bills arrive in January or February of the next year.
- Make more of your gifts at home. A freshly baked loaf of bread, cookies or desserts are always appreciated. Also art, crafts, needle work or a collage of photographs can make excellent gifts.