Budgeting for the holiday season - gifts

Feeling festive is one thing, overspending on gifts during the holiday season is another. According to research commissioned by Equifax December 2016, 10% of shoppers leave it till the last minute to buy gifts for Christmas. This could potentially mean that they end up spending more than if they’d budgeted beforehand.

There are many ways to budget for gifts for the holiday period. Here are some suggestions:

  • Make a list
    List everyone you want to buy gifts for, and decide how much you can afford to spend on each person.
  • Save up
    You may want to save up months in advance to ensure that you’ll have enough to spend on gifts when the holiday season rolls around.
  • Keep track of your spending
    Make sure that you’re sticking to your budget. If not, try to tweak it so that you’re still spending within the same limit overall.
  • Compare prices
    If you know what you want to get someone, don’t go out and buy it from the first store that you come across. Do your research online first, to see if you can get it cheaper elsewhere.
  • Shop in the sales
    You may want to shop during the sale season, whether it’s as early as the summer sales, or during Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale though – you could potentially find a better and more affordable gift at its normal retail price, so don’t just limit yourself to sales.
  • Be reasonable
    Say you want to get a particular gift for someone, but it costs more than you’ve budgeted for that person. You may want to tweak your plans so that you spend less on another gift – or you may have to trade in that idea for a more affordable one.
  • Stay on budget
    It may be tempting to buy gifts now using your credit card and worry about how to pay it back later, but that’ll cause you problems if you’re not able to clear the debt.
  • Think out of the box
    Money doesn’t necessarily buy the best gifts. Homemade gifts and cards could be cheaper than store-bought. For instance, you might save money baking cookies rather than buying luxury biscuits specially packaged for the holiday season.
  • Give back
    You could decide with friends and family to save money on presents and donate to charity instead.

Whatever the holiday season you’re celebrating, it can be easy to get lost in the festive spirit and spend more money than you’d intended. It can help if you set reasonable expectations, make a budget and keep to it, so that you don’t have to worry about any ensuing debt when the fun and festivities are over.

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