Another holiday season is upon us, are you ready? The holiday season is the most popular time of year to get into debt after buying gifts and paying for holiday expenses.
Establishing a holiday budget can help you keep expenses in order, but the key is sticking to that budget. Here are 5 tips to help you stay on a budget when shopping for family this holiday season.
Consider the 4 Gift Rule
The 4 gift rule is a nice way to stick to a budget for the holidays. You will still be getting presents for your family, but it’s just limited to four gifts per person. The gift categories usually go like this:
- Something they need
- Something they want
- Something to wear
- Something to read
These are great for families with a child and even following this rule with multiple children can help you stay on budget.
Try to make it a fun challenge with older kids who will have to prioritize their wants and needs and show contentment. If I ask my son to think back and name all the gifts he received for previous Christmases, I’m sure he couldn’t name too many.
Giving fewer gifts might actually be better for your kids and allow them to appreciate what they received and cherish it even more.
Use Gift Guides
Holiday gift guides do all the work for you and gather gift ideas for you. There are gift guides out there for everyone kids, parents, siblings, and co-workers. So if you run out of ideas or want to change up your regular routine, gift guides are perfect.
Rely on budget-friendly gift guides so you can narrow down meaningful items that won’t cost a fortune. I like to use gift guides to spark some creative ideas and also to help me stick to the budget. I’m sure there are even resourceful guides with gift ideas for $5 and under.
Take Advantage of Sales and Deals
Finding sales and deals is one of the best ways to stay under budget this holiday season if you can start before Thanksgiving hits. Look for items in the clearance section or even doorbusters that you know would make a perfect gift.
Of course, there are always ongoing sales and deals throughout December, but if you can get started before, that would make the overall shopping experience less stressful.
Make sure to compare these sales before you actually make the purchase. Just because it says it’s on sale that doesn’t mean you can’t beat it on another site or store.
Be prepared to deal with crowds because even with some people turning to holiday shopping online, a good amount of people would rather shop in-store.
Instead of buying a gift for each member of your family, try doing a secret Santa gift exchange. Have a few members of the family put some names in a hat and draw a person to get a gift for.
Have everyone keep their person a secret to make it more fun. Create some sort of group text or social media post and have each person list a few gift ideas to help their secret person when shopping.
That way, everyone knows what each other wants without knowing who has who until the day of the gift exchange. Put some sort of spending limit on the gifts so its fair and someone doesn’t get a $200 gift and someone else gets a $10 gift.
Know When to Stop
Holiday shopping can be addicting. You might want to keep on buying, but that’s when the problem would kick in. Know your limit.
That extra gift you think they’ll like might sound great, but is it really worth it? You can’t get everyone everything they want each and every Christmas. Maybe use other days like Mother’s Day or a birthday to load up a loved one with other nice things. Set a budget and do your best to stick to it.
You set that budget for a reason, don’t put yourself in a situation where you are paying back credit cards the following year. Also, remember that the holidays are about more than just spending money.
Prioritize spending time with loved ones and creating long-lasting memories. All of that is for free.