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Forecasting Holiday Shopping on a Budget

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Last Updated on July 14, 2020

It seems like every time you blink, the holiday season is rolling around again — didn't we just do this last year?! You know what that means. It's time to start making your list and checking it twice, thrice, and maybe even a fourth time. How will you ever get the best deal if you don't? The truth is there are a few secrets to holiday shopping on a budget and we've got the tips you need to save money this year and every year beyond. 

It seems like every time you blink, the holiday season is rolling around again — didn’t we just do this last year?! You know what that means. It’s time to start making your list and checking it twice, thrice, and maybe even a fourth time. How will you ever get the best deal if you don’t? The truth is there are a few secrets to holiday shopping on a budget and we’ve got the tips you need to save money this year and every year beyond. 

Limit the Number of People You Shop For

While you might want to shop for everyone, it’s important to limit the number of people you shop for, especially if you have a small budget. Keep your immediate family on the list and maybe one or two close friends that you absolutely cannot leave out. This will help you determine who is necessary to buy for and who can be left out if you don’t have the funds to shop for them. 

Shop the Bargains

The word bargain is certainly subjective, as everyone’s financial situation differs. However, any time you get something for less than its original price, you’re getting a deal. The best way to find these deals is to sign up for notifications, such as price-drop alerts or regularly check the store’s sales fliers. 

Most companies come up with an online holiday plan designed to draw shoppers in. Following them on social media or signing up for email notifications is a great way to stay on top of these sales before you miss them altogether. Before you make a purchase, though, make sure you jot down the original price of items you’re hoping to find on sale. That way you can tell if you’re really getting a bargain or if the stores want you to think you’re getting a bargain. 

Price-Check: Put That Phone to Use

When you’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, it’s easy to see a lower price and grab it off the shelf, but have you taken a look at what other retailers are offering the same items for? When in doubt, put the item in your cart — because you don’t want anyone else to grab it while you’re comparing — and pull out your phone. Search Google for the item, or use a price-checking app,  and see if any local stores — or online retailers — are offering it for less. Don’t forget to factor in shipping when comparing with online locations. Those are extra costs that you wouldn’t typically spend if shopping in a store. 

Make Gifts

There’s nothing more special than a handmade gift, so if you have a natural talent for crafting — or you’re willing to learn — you can absolutely make gifts for people, limit waste, and save money. These gifts are likely to be well received because of the thought put into them. They’re often cherished more than store-bought goods for their sentimental value.

Just don’t make the mistake of buying a ton of supplies that sit around collecting dust, because then you’re not saving, you’re wasting. 

Stay On Top of Your Spending

This one might sound like common sense, but if you’re on a budget, you really need to count every penny. This means setting a specific figure and not exceeding it. To do this, save the receipts so you can track the amount you’re spending. Keep them centralized in an envelope where you can easily find it and keep a running total on the face of it. Check it periodically against what and who you still have to shop for. 

Avoid Impulse Buys and Shop Early

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and grab an item or two, but impulse buying is the quickest way to send your budget off-kilter. No matter how good of a deal it is, if it’s not on your list and you don’t have any flexibility in your budget, don’t buy it. 

Shopping early will give you more time to compare savings, and it will actually give you more flexibility in your budget because you’re not spending the money all at once, you’re spacing it out. It’s also okay, to put money aside each week in the form of a savings club, even if you only put it in an envelope for safekeeping. Then you can use this as your budget when it comes time to shop.

Whether you’re setting aside a specific amount for shopping to avoid overspending, or you’re practicing frugal living, there are ways to avoid going over budget. Make that list, set a dollar amount and compare prices. Before you know it, the shopping will be all done and you’ll be resetting for the next year.