The National Consumer Retail Federation predicts 2018 consumer holiday spending will be higher than in years past. Financial experts advise spending no more than 1.5 % of our gross, annual income on holiday expenses. So, if you’re excited for the sales but want to be savvy about how much of your hard-earned cash leaves your bank account, here’s a few things to consider.
1. Make a plan for how much you can afford to spend on gifts and stick to it. Gifts are one area of our holiday expenses where we have total control over how much we spend! Be sure to include everyone on your list-neighbor gifts, coworkers, church gift exchanges, etc.
2. Finish your spending plan before you start shopping and keep track of the spending as you go along. There are plenty of Christmas gift budgeting apps to help. Pick one with high customer ratings and use it to keep your spending plan updated as you go.
3. Power Shop! Retailers frequently advertise sales this time of year. Pre Black Friday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Post Black Friday and Post Cyber Monday sales are all common. Pick a day and tackle all of your gift list in one swoop. Whether you’re shopping online or in the store, the goal is to go as few times as possible. The more time you spend shopping, the more likely we are to overspend.
4. Stash some extra cash. If you are spending $8 to $10 each day for lunch, drinks, snacks, etc., bring things from home and save that money. Over the next four weeks, that could add up to $200 to put towards holiday expenses!
5. Get creative: There are so many ways to reduce expenses and still give appreciated gifts. Non-monetary gifts are a fabulous way to keep costs down. Homemade gifts are often more meaningful. Coupons, or certificates for service or quality time, are a great way to share talents and make memories.
What are your holiday shopping tips? How do you budget for your extra expenses this time of year?
Blog editor and Accredited Financial Counselor sharing real-life money smarts that can help you stay on track with financial goals while still enjoying life!
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