Create a Holiday Shopping Budget
Once it is more clear what needs to be bought, start with the bargains. Plan out the Black Friday sales in advance. From that point forward, see what items can be purchased cheaper online. If there are many online purchases, check to see if it is possible to bundle shipping to further reduce the costs. Most importantly, avoid impulse shopping at all costs. Christmas is a time to be thoughtful and generous, but that does not have to mean being irresponsible.
Don’t forget that Christmas involves spending other than gifts. Think about how much money will need to be set aside for cards, decorations, shipping, wrapping paper and bows, food and drink, and even gas to get to the festivities. When these elements are ignored, they add up extremely quickly.
Examine the paper trail. Review all the receipts and bills from the holiday season of the previous year. This can provide an idea of how much was spent, how long it took to pay it off, and what needs to be adjusted to make this year more budget friendly. Keep all the receipts from current purchases, and total them up daily or weekly depending on your individual shopping habits. This can provide a much needed reality check.
This paper trail includes credit cards as well. When going out, take only the credit cards that are absolutely necessary, and limit the transactions on them. Also, check the credit card statements thoroughly each time a bill comes in the mail. Unfortunately, the holiday season is a busy time for identity theft considering so many people are not paying attention to the details of their extensive bill.
By simply adjusting the way you shop, you can cut down on many costs associated with the holiday season and limit much of the stress. That is the best present you can give yourself.