With the holiday season coming, you know your bank account will take a hit. Fortunately, you don’t have to go broke buying gifts for everyone. There are plenty of ways to stick to your holiday financial plan while getting something for everyone. Here are 10 tips that will help you stick to your holiday gift budget.
- Set a reasonable limit.
One of the hardest things to do during the holiday season is setting a budget and sticking to it. Some people create a plan that is unreasonable. Buying everyone something incredibly expensive isn’t possible. Set a reasonable limit and stick to it. If you're worried about going over budget, deliberately set your limit a little low. That way you have wiggle room if you start to go above your limit.
- Prepare a list.
Before you leave to go shopping, make a list of what you want to purchase for everyone. This will help you set realistic shopping limits. Write down a person’s name, what you want to get them, and the average price of the gift. Once you’re finished, go over the list and determine if buying everyone what they want is within your budget. Writing down what you want to buy sets more realistic expectations.
- Track your spending.
Tracking what you spend is the most important tip you could do during any spending season. Without tracking your spending, you have no idea how much you’ve actually spent. After making a purchase, write down how much you spent on a piece of paper or your checkbook. There are also several apps that will help you track your spending. Level Money can be downloaded for androids and iPhones for free.
- Negotiate prices.
Negotiating is sometimes seen as taboo, but it’s a fantastic way to purchase goods on a budget. This should mostly be done at smaller stores. Larger, national chains usually won’t negotiate on prices, but smaller stores and pawn shops are known for negotiating. Low ball them and move up. Set a price where you are immovable. Don’t be afraid to walk out
- Research expensive items online.
Some stores sell expensive items with a noticeable markup. Knowing what you’re going to buy not only sets you up for a better negotiation of price, but it also gives you an idea of the value. Researching expensive items will tell you which stores are trustworthy and which ones deserve your money. Chances are, if they’re increasing the price on big-ticket items, other items are also inflated.
- Pay with cash.
Paying with cash is a great way to track your budget. Studies have shown that those who pay with cash spend less money over time. Most scientists contribute this to giving up something physical versus digital transactions. You will always know how much you have and it’s easier to determine whether the present is worth the cash.
- Be a digital coupon clipper.
Several websites offer coupons for big-ticket items or services. Groupon is one of the biggest websites that offers these discounts. There are also websites that focus on finding all deals on the internet. Slickdeals.net is a great website that scours for deals listed anywhere and everywhere. It is updated daily and range anywhere from cameras to Xboxes to computers. You’ll never know what you’ll find.
- Consider smaller gifts.
Buying smaller gifts for some people is a good way to save money. For the baker in the family, consider buying recipes in a jar. Recipes in a jar are various foods that can be made without being measured. Some recipes feature brownies, oatmeal, cookies, and plenty more.
- Look for the best deal.
Don’t assume online stores will have the best price. Look through sales catalogues and find the best price for what you want to purchase. Call stores and ask if they have any current deals or discounts. Find member discounts for stores. Ask for these discounts. The worst thing they can say is “no.”
- Team up for expensive gifts.
For gifts that are hundreds of dollars, consider teaming up with another family or friend. Splitting the price will provide the person with what they want at a more manageable price for everyone. For example, purchasing an Xbox One costs around $350. If you find 2 other people to purchase the item with you, it’ll be on average $117 per person. This is a much more manageable price.