Oh, the holidays. The one time of year when even the most disciplined shoppers have trouble sticking to their budgets. But you don't have to begin the New Year in debt. Follow these simple shopping tips to stop holiday overspending, and prevent a financial hangover in 2019.
Seven holiday shopping tips to avoid a financial hangover in the new year.
Holiday shopping on a budget doesn't mean you have to be a Scrooge. Learn how to save money while still having a jolly time:
Set a budget.
You may really want to buy your nephew the newest video game, or your best friend the sweater she has been talking about for weeks, but can you afford it? Setting a realistic budget for the holidays is a must. Remember, your holiday budget should include all additional seasonal expenses, not just the cost of gifts.
The earlier you start shopping, the easier it will be to find the perfect gift for someone at a reasonable price. When you do not have to rush to finish your holiday shopping, you have the time to shop around and compare prices. Some of the best prices of the year are available weeks, or even months, before the holiday season.
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It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to outdo relatives and friends when it comes to holiday spending. Resist the urge. Even if you received an expensive present from a friend last year, you are under no obligation reciprocate with a large gift this year.
Take advantage of online coupons and deal sites.
Websites like GroupOn and RetailMeNot offer great one-of-a-kind deals for many products. Before you make any internet purchase, take a few minutes to search online for coupons. Check out a company's Facebook page to see if there are any current discounts.
Make a plan for what to buy on Black Friday.
With so many great deals on Black Friday, it is easy to overspend. Before going to the store, or shopping online, make a list. Write the name of each person you are shopping for, a gift idea, and the budget for each person. Resist the urge to exceed your budget by even a few dollars. Those couple of extra bucks per person can quickly add up!
Use cash or low interest credit cards.
When you use cash to make purchases, you won't have the stress of having to pay the bills in January hanging over your head. If you are a little short this year, use a low interest credit card, and have a plan to pay the bills as soon as possible. Remember to use your lowest rate credit cards this holiday season to save.
Rediscover the true meaning of the holidays.
Gifts are great, but the holidays are truly about being together with your friends and family. Plan an inexpensive activity to reconnect with your loved ones. The memories will be more precious, and last longer, than anything you can buy in a store.
Have a healthy, happy, and financially sound holiday season this year.