Arriving at the festive season is both gratifying and daunting. On the one hand all the glare and glitter around the festivities are really exciting. But on the other there is that dreary feeling that all these things comes at a price, one that might just be out of reach.
But this year the season for giving does not have to break the bank. We all want to make Christmas special for our friends and family. But there are practical ways to make sure that we spend within our means and still get the most out of this special time. So here are a few practical ways you can shop smart this festive season:
- Set a budget in advance – As the cornerstone of all effective financial planning, a budget is especially important in the holiday season. When looking at your budget, decide how much you can afford for gifts this holiday season, and stick to it.
- Have a list – List the people who you are going to buy a Christmas gift for.
- Plan what you will spend your money on – Think of a gift for each person on the list. Then, for each gift, estimate how much you will spend on that gift.
- Gifts for kids – When shopping for kids, keep in mind that they don’t look at price tags when considering something’s worth.
- Stay away from store cards – Those pesky store cards offered by retailers carry huge interest rates and can chew into any deal if not paid off.
- Review actual spending against budget – For each purchase that you make, update your budget with the actual money that you spent.
- Go green – Statistically, you will spend less during the holidays when using cash. And if you don’t have it, maybe it’s time to rethink how you show your loved ones you care.
These are hard things to stick with, it forces you to come face to face with the limits of what we have. We can sometimes get some kind of selfish reward for the gift giving. That’s why it is so much more important to spend within your means and stick to your budget.
The truth is that this is a very special time of the year and it deserves to be enjoyed even if you don’t have loads to spend. Happy holidays!