It is November which means it is now time to jump in and do your holiday shopping. If you shop all year long, then you are probably about finished — and good for you! However, many don’t start shopping until around Thanksgiving (or later). When you start to see all of the deals showing up on your television, Facebook and other places (like this site), it can become overwhelming and you can quickly over-buy and lose control. Here are SIX great tips you can follow to help keep your spending under control!
1. Create a Budget and List
Before you jump in and start buying willy-nilly, you should have BOTH a budget and shopping list ready. You can use the standard budget form here (just print the blank one and write down the names of the people you will buy for and the amount you plan on spending). Once you have that in place, then determine what it is you will buy or make. If your budget is tight, you may want to try homemade gifts (check out one of my Pinterest boards for some ideas).
Make sure you stick to your budget so that when the mail comes in January, you’ll be happy to see fewer bills show up in the mail box!
2. Saving money on a deal is really saving
If you find a deal on something that you didn’t intend on purchasing and buy it because of the price, that does not make it a deal. Instead, when you spend money – no matter how much – you are spending. Even if you get it for $10 because you are saving $15, that is another $10 taken out of your holiday budget. Make sure that when you see a deal, that it is something you really need to buy and not something you buy just because of the price.
3. Don’t get sucked in by the phrase Black Friday
Just because it is Black Friday, it doesn’t mean that those are the best deals you can find. Some of the best days to shop include:
- November 26th — Toys and Electronics
- December 1st – Apparel
If you take a minute to actually look through the Black Friday Ads, you will probably see that many of them are the same things you see in past years or are items which are rather underwhelming. Don’t fall for the hype of Black Friday and think that means you are guaranteed to get some of the best prices of the shopping season.
If you do plan on getting out to shop, you can read my Best Black Friday Shopping tips. If you want to stay home instead, we’ll be here to help — complete with a database filled with coupon codes and offers!!!
4. Shop online
While do sometimes shop in the stores, I will admit to doing most of my shopping online. I am just so busy that getting out is not as easy as it has been in the past. Between that and the weekend madness, I’d just rather spend time at home with my kids.
When I have the patience to wait for a deal, I can often find deals that I can’t find in the store. Or, if they are bit more, they are really “the same” as I don’t have to spend fuel or my time to drive to the store to grab it!
I will admit that my favorite place to shop is Amazon. I also pay the $99 annual fee for Amazon Prime which always more than pays for itself in my shipping savings alone!!! With the daily lightning deals and how they do a great job of price matching other retailers, I find that I do a great job in getting the things we need, without hurting our holiday budget!
5. Numbers don’t matter
I don’t know about you, but I would rather spend the same amount and give my kids each 2 or 3 items which will last than 10 items which will fall apart. In addition, I don’t care what my kids give me either. One of my favorite gifts was a silly snowman coffee mug that cost $1 at one of our Dollar Stores. I love it most of all because my daughter was so proud that she not only picked it out herself, but spend her own money to buy it for me. She reminds me of this when I dig out that mug for my hot cocoa each winter.
I know I’ve receive many gift over the years, but this small mug is the thing I remember. Your family will do the same thing – if you give something from the heart – or just do what you can to make the holiday memorable, that is what matters most of all. You probably won’t remember what gift you were given in 2 years, but you will remember that special moment where your child smiled or your last photo with grandma.
6. Stop shopping when the list is done
This may seem like it is common sense, but it may be harder than you realize. When you are done with your holiday shopping and have purchase or made something for everyone on your list, just stay out of the stores. It is so simple to see something and pick up “just one more item.” Doing this can quickly add up into 5 – 10 more items and quickly blow that budget you set in step #1 above. Like I tell my kids ……. “put down the toy and walk away.”
What other tips do you have to add to our list?