7 Dec 2012

How to stick to a Christmas shopping budget

Can you believe it, its almost Christmas! It's around the corner, as in a few days away. So if you haven’t already you should really start your Christmas gift shopping.

Christmas can be a time were people can be very generous but then end up blowing their budget and being in financial stress in the new year.

I’ve put together my tips for sticking to a Christmas shopping budget.

Plan Ahead
Thorough out the year you should be planning or budgeting for the increase in spend in December. Maybe put away $20-50 a month so it doesn’t hit the pocket in one go. I suggest putting this money away from your regular savings, so either physically withdraw the money and have it locked away or transfer into another account you won’t touch (an interest bearing account would be an even better option – more on that on a future post).

Write a List
Write down the names of the family and friends you want/need to buy presents for. Then write down a gift budget against each name totaling the amount you have saved through out the year. If you haven’t started a Christmas gift budget during the year, determine how much you can afford to spend on gifts this year and then divide amount between names.

Think of Gift Ideas
Before you hit the shops or the internet review each name and think about what that person would like or need. The people on your list are most likely special people in your life. You would know a thing or two about their interests, hobbies, what they are into. Put some thought into what gift they would appreciate that is within your budget. Put a few suggestions down next to their name.

Research Where Gifts Can be Purchased
Once you’ve identified what gifts you plan to get your family and friends its time to start researching where you can get these items at the best price. Most items can be searched online with several hits where item can be purchased from. If you’re planning to hit the retail stores think about which shopping center complex will stock most of the items you have on your list to minimize running around various centers.

Gift Tips and Ideas:
  • For larger families and extended families suggest doing a secret santa arrangement and set a maximum budget on gifts.
  • Don’t leave shopping for gifts until the last minute. It’s so tempting especially since most retailers extending their trading hours during the season but the longer you leave it the more pressed you will feel to purchase something which may push your budget. There’s no point in putting away money for a Christmas budget throughout the year and not stick to it. Also researching early may allow you to find the item at the best possible price.
  • If you’re crafty and can make things don’t dismiss your talent for sewing or knitted iphone covers or growing plans as awesome unique Christmas presents. However, again start early to avoid being overwhelmed by the effort to make everyone’s presents. 
  • Do you have unused items sitting around at home somewhere? My mother in law hoards so much … stuff. If it’s on special she’s buying a box worth. But every Christmas she gives away these awesome Christmas hampers as gifts. There’s usually a theme: kitchen hamper, cooking hamper, beauty hamper, pre-teen girl hamper. She stocks the box or basket with items belonging to the theme. So for the kitchen theme hamper there would be detergent, scented candle, sponges, paper wipes, salt and pepper .. items you would need for the kitchen. Who doesn’t need more of those everyday stuff?
  • Stick to your budget. If you’ve allocated $30 on a present for brother Billy, stick to it. Sure go over if it’s a few dollars but if gift is are averaging $45 look into an alternative gift, hence why writing a list of gift ideas will come in handy.
  • Pitch in with one or more other family or friends to increase budget pot. If the little nephew has been hinting he wants the new Nentendo DS ask other family members if they want to purchase the gift together and split the cost between everyone.
Have you stuck to your Christmas shopping budget this year?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share Buttons

Share this post with friends