Tuesday, September 29, 2020

How to Shop for Christmas on a Budget

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There is no denying that nowadays Christmas has become an exceptionally expensive time of year. But while some gleefully look forward to this festive time, others are worried sick about getting themselves into debt to ensure that their family has the ‘perfect Christmas.’

Christmas is meant to be a time of cheer and goodwill but trying to make sure the kids get all the best gadgets and toys might be filling you with a sense of panic and dread. And you are not alone.

A 2018 report by the National Retail Federation stated that Americans were predicted to spend almost $721 billion in November and December. But an article in Much Needed put that figure at over $1 trillion! Contributing to these figures are those sensible folk who save up for Christmas throughout the year. Then there are those who either cannot, or simply do not, save. Some will end up in debt while others will look for a way to do Christmas on a budget. If you are one of the latter group, the following pointers are for you.

  • Set a Limit. One of the best ways to stick to a budget is to set a limit on how much you are going to spend a) on each person, and b) in total. Make a conscious effort to stick to this limit, or even go under if possible.
  • Decide who you need to buy for and make a list. Make a list of those who you usually buy gifts for. Then have another look at it to see if there is any way to cut it back. If you usually buy for friends, have a chat with them and maybe agree to not buy each other anything this year. Perhaps you could all go out for a nice meal instead?
  • Do not buy on a credit card. To avoid going into debt, buy your gifts with cash rather than with a credit card. Even if you have every intention of paying the full balance at the end of the month, there is a risk that you might not do this, then finding yourself with a mountain of credit card debt that is hard to clear.
  • Look for deals and discounts. As the festive season gets nearer, you may find that there are some amazing deals to be had. Some people prefer to spread the cost of Christmas and buy a gift here and there throughout the year; others leave everything to the last minute. There are pros and cons to both approaches because many retailers offer fantastic discounts and savings the closer we get to the big day.
  • Use a cashback website. As this is a time when you are bound to be purchasing gifts for loved ones, make the most of cashback websites such as RebatesMe to earn some cash back on the stuff you buy. Macy’s cashback is a big incentive for those who like to buy all their gifts in the one place. You will find that many of the top retailers offer a percentage in cashback when you buy through a cashback website.
  • Shop on your own. If you prefer to shop in person rather than online, make sure you do it alone. Going shopping with others when you are trying to stick to a budget could mean you are encouraged to spend more than you wanted to.
  • Make rather than buy. If you are creative, consider making gifts instead of buying them. There are countless tips available online for gifts you can create yourself. Alternatively, make some delicious treats such as traybakes or cookies.

The above tips should help make shopping for Christmas fun once more.

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