The Holiday season is here and if you’re like most people you want to be able to buy the best and latest gifts for everyone in your family, all your friends, and of course a couple gifts for yourself! I believe in giving, I think it’s an essential part of life, but I don’t believe in giving gifts on borrowed money. You shouldn’t break out your credit cards and get sucked into debt just to buy presents for the holiday season. With about 70% of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck most people don’t have extra money to buy gifts, so you might need to hold off on getting that cup of coffee in the morning and wait to have that Friday night gourmet dinner you were planning. If you did create a savings for a Holiday fund then these 3 steps will help you stay within your budget while buying the perfect gift.
1. Illusion of more gifts
This one is great if you want it to look like Santa had a huge hole in his red bag, leaving a trail of presents all around the room. If you wrap all the gifts separately then it will look like you have more gifts for everyone. For example, if you bought a three-piece outfit that was all sold together, you can break that up into 3 pieces and wrap them as separate gifts. Say you bought a 12-piece cookware set, now you suddenly have 12 gifts from one purchase!
2. Outlets malls and discount stores
You can sometimes find the same goods at a discount store or outlet mall that you would find at a major retail department store. When you shop at these outlet or discount stores not only are the prices cheaper on the same goods, but also they usually have deals such as buy one get one half off.
3. Use cash not debit/credit
Using cash could greatly reduce impulsive buying and overspending. If you use this method you are going to want to set a very clear budget for yourself and have some discipline to tell yourself when the cash is gone then the shopping is done. The psychology behind using cash vs. a debit or credit card is that it is less painful to use a plastic card than it is to part with your cash. It’s also much more difficult to keep track of what you are spending when using a card, most people don’t balance their accounts after using a debit card. If you are using cash you know exactly how much money you have, preventing you from over spending and almost forcing you to find a good deal.
Shopping for family and friends should be fun and exciting, not stressful. If you can’t afford something then simply don’t buy it, it’s not worth putting yourself in debt or in a tight financial situation just to have unnecessary presents for the holidays.
Giving only a personalized greeting card is okay and proves to be a very powerful tool to show a person you care and are thinking of them.
I would love to hear some gift ideas that you have to help stay within a budget.