This is it, Black Friday is this week to kick off the holiday shopping craziness. Are you ready? I love going to stores with their festive decorations and cheerful music, but I don’t love disappearing in the holiday malls’ long lines and overspending (I am one of those who buys gifts with the ‘one for her, one for me’ ideology, hehe). So a few years ago I developed ground rules to help me get through the holidays without breaking the bank.
1. Make a Holiday Shopping List and Check it Twice.
To help manage my time and holiday budget, I write down names of everyone I plan to buy gifts for. (‘Santa’s Bag‘ app is an excellent tool that helps me do that!) I make sure to include family, friends, kids’ teachers, coworkers, party hostesses, a favorite charity, etc. I also include into the budget the price of entertaining, gift wrapping, holiday decor, etc. Next to each person’s name, I include gift ideas I think this person may like, names of stores where I could buy their gifts, and a range of what I plan to spend. I never go holiday shopping without this list or I’m doomed.
2. Stick to a Holiday Budget.
When I calculate how much I can spend on each gift, finish working on my list and do the math, I end up going back to re-do the numbers… I am very fortunate that I get to have a long list of people in my life, but that also means that I have to hunt for better deals.
3. Plan on Treating Yourself.
I admit, I have trouble resisting buying two of everything, and the numbers add up quickly. I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting a gift for yourself on occasion, though, so I set up a budget for myself and firmly stick to it. I get to treat myself and not feel guilty about spending knowing that I’ve factored the cost into my holiday shopping budget!
4. Sign up for Emails From Favorite Stores AND Their Competitors.
This way, I am the first to know about sales and deals at stores where I usually shop and the sales and deals of their competitors (most stores nowadays match prices!). Beware of sales, though, because shopping for more, often unnecessary, things just because they are on sale is very tempting… So stick to the list. And don’t forget to unsubscribe from the emails after you are done shopping!
5. Do Online Research.
Very importantly, I read the products’ ratings and reviews to help me make a decision on what to buy. And then, to save time, I often make purchases online and pick up the gift in store or have it deliver to my door steps (many stores offer free shipping during holidays!).
So here they are, my secrets to a holiday shopping without breaking the bank. Please share yours! Would so love to hear from you!!
*Image credits www.forbes.com