Black Friday is around the corner and people are scraping all of their cash together to hit the malls and shop until they drop.
With the economy still down in the dumps and the uncertainty of its future, some people may not be able to break the bank this holiday season. To beat the holiday burden of overspending, here are five shopping tips to help save you time and money:
It’s the begging of November, so you have plenty of time to put together a quick list of your loved one’s wants and needs. By planning ahead for holiday spending, as you would do for anything else you do in life, you are saving yourself a lot of valuable time and money. Planning ahead includes making a list of each person you plan to give a gift to and set a dollar limit. Also, include gift alternatives and places where you can get the items from. This will help you navigate away from making purchases that you don’t necessarily need.
Draft a Budget
Once you have your game plan together, draft a budget of how much you may need to spend. Remember to include more than just the presents you plan to buy. Money spent on wrapping paper, holiday cards, decorating, entertainment and travel adds to your overall expenses during the holidays as well. Once you’ve balanced your budget, revisit it frequently over the holidays to make sure you’re sticking to it. You might find that you over estimated in some categories and underestimated in others.
Search Sales, Clip Coupons
Take some lessons from your grandmother – clip coupons! As simple as it sounds, many people have steered away from this activity, but now is the best time to start doing it. By picking up your local Sunday paper, you will be amazed by how many of your favorite stores offer sales and coupons that will save you a ton of cash this holiday season. Take a few minutes to browse through the sales and deals (in the paper and online) and put them in an envelope so that when you hit up your favorite store you will have some extra savings in your purse.
Round Up Your Receipts
In order to keep track of what you spend, keep all of your receipts. Too often, people start shopping with the intentions of being thrifty, then they see things they desire and on instinct, they make the mistake of overspending. To avoid this, after each purchase, take time to pull out your receipts and a note pad so you can calculate all costs. Revisit, evaluate and revise your budget before you make your next purchase. Make sure to keep your receipts until next holiday season so you can compare how much you spend yearly.
Show Your heart
There truly is no price point on love. Do not break the bank on trying to make someone happy with material possessions. Show your love by making something that comes from the heart. It can be a heartfelt love letter, a customized item decorated by you, or a photo album of you and your significant other. These personal touches will outlast any gift that you buy from the store!
Remember – Shop smarter, not harder!