How-to Tuesday: Affordable Holiday Shopping


This time of year, it is so easy to be overcome with the excitement of the upcoming holidays that you relax your spending rules. With all of the “special deals” offered up on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and more – many people end up spending a lot more money than they actually have in their bank accounts.

When January rolls around, all of that excessive purchasing will result in a gigantic spend hangover when the credit card bills start becoming due. Without even realizing it, you may easily spend so much money around the holidays that you’ll be paying it down until NEXT December (or even longer)!

Luckily, there are ways to gain control of your holiday spending before it’s too late.

Ideally, you’d only spend money that you actually have available to you in your bank account. Hopefully, you started setting aside money each month roughly a year ago that leaves you with a nice holiday budget, making credit card use unnecessary, or at least minimal.

However, it is actually okay to use your credit cards for holiday shopping – with a huge qualifier, though. You must keep track of exactly how much money you are charging and have a plan to be able to pay it off within several months of the new year.

Make a holiday shopping list that designates a certain dollar amount for each person on your list and don’t go over that amount, even by five dollars.

Avoid signing up for store credit cards because, even though they lure you in with 10 to 20% off your first purchase, afterward, you’ll get slammed with high percentage rates. If you aren’t able to pay off your purchase right away, the high interest rates can add up quickly, making your initial savings null and void.

Be sure that you shop around before making any purchases. The age of the Internet has brought us the ability to compare prices easily without tromping store to store. Don’t forget about Amazon! If you’ve signed up for an Amazon prime account, you can easily get your money’s worth with FREE shipping on all prime-eligible items.

Try to avoid impulse buys as much as possible. Do this by sticking to the list you created, with specific gifts listed for each person on your list. Shopping during the holidays without a plan is very dangerous and can put a huge dent in your wallet in no time.

Consider pooling your money with another person in order to get a more expensive gift for someone on your list. This is a great way to get someone that item they’ve been coveting without kicking yourself next month when the bill rolls in.

Most of all, keep in mind at all times that it’s much more important to spend quality time with your loved ones than it is to give, give, give. None of your close friends or family would want you to go into debt in order to provide them with an over-the-top holiday gift! Make this holiday season one during which you can confidently say that you shopped wisely. You’ll thank yourself in the new year.

Image credit: David Porter

One Response to How-to Tuesday: Affordable Holiday Shopping

  1. Pingback: Friday Five: Cures for Your Holiday Spending Hangover | Veitengruber Law

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