Black Friday has come and gone (thankfully) but we’re still smack-dab in the "spending season." Even if you have made a list and checked it twice, it is easy to let holiday spending spiral out of control. Here are 5 tips for keeping your holiday spending under control. (And I’m talking to myself as I write this, too.)
Make a list. And stick to it - again. With a detailed list of who you want to buy for, and how much you want to spend documented in your budget, you will stay focused.
Avoid Impulse Purchases. Easier said than done, I know. It’s a bad idea to shop for groceries when you are hungry, right? So don’t shop for Holiday gifts when your emotions and the spirit of the season my cloud good judgement. And don’t make any large-ticket purchases without comparison shopping. It will be worth the time.
Shop (and Ship) early. Personally, all my extended family lives on the East Coast. The painful day I have to go to the post office, stand in line, and pay embarrassing amounts of money to ship gifts to cousins before Christmas kills me every year! Know the feeling? So - put it on your calendar to get to the post office this week so you don’t have to pay expedited shipping costs. (This assumes, of course, you have the gifts. If not, there’s always Smile.Amazon.com where you can send your gifts directly to those east coast cousins - all while making a small contribution to the charity of your choice.)
Use up those lingering gift cards. You order them for a school fundraiser or receive them as gifts…[and I even give them as gifts myself.] The Target gift card, iTunes, Peet’s Coffee, VISA check card - they are sitting in your desk (or, if you are my client, in your purse!) But no matter where they are - they don’t do you any good. Last year, research indicated that about $750 million in gift cards would go unused. Don’t leave the money sitting on the table. Why not use them as credit to offset your holiday spending?