With just a few days left to shop (and ship, if you are like me with family on the East Coast), be careful not to fall into panic mode when it comes to buying gifts just for the sake of, well, buying gifts. Your holiday spending budget will go right through the roof!
Sure, we know that this year you intended to get a head start on your holiday gift list, but here we are - 12 days out from the big "present festivals" (both Christmas and Hanukkah start at the same time this year!) …and you may be entering panic mode.
Experts tell us not to spend more than 1.5% of our annual income on total holiday expenses. So, to avoid wasteful last-monte purchases, consider an alternative gift like homemade cookies, show tickets or a personal coupon book. One family friend even gives coupons for driving a family to the airport - and back!
Here are few more ideas to help you avoid busting your budget while panic shopping:
Buy something useful. Your money won’t be wasted if the gift is needed, like an exercise outfit or set of tools.
Have a micro budget. Know how much you want to spend on each person on your list, not just an overall limit.
Pay with cash. This is a time-tested way to keep within your budget.
Give to charity. Get others on your gift list to join you in pooling your money for a charity instead of spending on each other. This year, I have been making donations to a long-standing charity, CARE.