Holiday Shopping Survival Guide

You’ve been doing well all year managing your budget, but with the holidays on the horizon you’re worried about the anticipated costs of gifts, decorations, entertainment and food headed your way. If you love to celebrate the holidays but don’t love the financial pinch you experience afterward, there are several great tricks for giving and celebrating, while staying resilient and maintaining your budget:

  • Know your limit. Sit down and plan out your holiday budget before you head to the malls this year. Gifts, large or small, can really add up, leaving you with a hefty bill at the end of the season.
  • Plan ahead. Here are a few ways to save on shopping, whether online or in the stores:
    • Look for special “savings days” at your favorite retail stores.
    • Use coupons from your newspaper, online or in-store.
    • Take advantage of free shipping with online purchases.
    • Buy gifts throughout the year, not just during the peak season.
  • Trim your list. Do you really need to exchange gifts with everyone in your family? Consider these alternatives: drawing names so that each family member only exchanges with one other, or giving a group gift to certain members of the family.
  • Reduce your stress. The holiday season is stressful enough with demands from family and friends, not to mention social commitments for work or other groups. Try to plan ahead as much as possible, avoiding last-minute buys will impact your budget.
  • Enjoy the season. In the end, the holidays are all about enjoying friends and family. Stay focused on time with loved ones and other joys of the season. Remember that it’s much better to keep spending down and stick to your budget. It’s a great feeling to start off the New Year on the right financial foot.