It is nearing that time of year when everyone is supposed to be cheerful and happy, joyful and gay. All you can think about is getting everything for everyone on your Christmas list without finding yourself in the poorhouse before the end of the year. Does this sound familiar? This happens to quite a few of us. We wait to the last minute, thinking we have plenty of time and plenty of money. Then, something comes up and our bank account is running low. Suddenly we don’t have a budget for the holidays.
[Read: Get Control of Your Money]
Well, there are a few ways that you can save yourself some time and money if you know how to cushion yourself now.
Budget for the Holidays by Prioritizing Your List
This sounds kind of Grinchy, but if you are low on funds, this makes quite a bit of sense when you have to budget for the holidays. You know there are people who will be at the top, like your immediate family but when it comes to relatives and your social group, some are just closer than others are.
Bargain Shopping on a Budget for the Holidays
There are a few ways you can successfully bargain shop. Some take a little time to master while others are a snap to figure out. Then, there are a few that do the hunting for you, and those, my friend, are gold mines! Some of the ways are:
- Compare store circulars-cross reference is key
- Surf for best prices no crowds, just click
- Know your store’s guidelines-always ask about advertised prices
- Craft something-heartfelt gifts mean more to people
Comparing circulars can take up some time but once you get the knack of knowing what department you are looking for to get that one gift and who is more likely to carry it, you can cut that time in half.
Surfing the internet is a great idea. No lines to stand in, no noisy crowd to give you a stress headache and definitely no arguing over that last ‘special item’ that you and the person beside you saw at the same time and you have to have for your aunt, while she wants it for her mother!
How about that pair of jeans you just bought at Dept store A and just saw the exact same pair for $10 less in the window At Dept store B? Will Department store A honor the difference or will you have to find the receipt and take it back in hopes that department store B has the size you are looking for?
Just how difficult can it be to look up the recipe online you saw on that do-it-yourself-site and make candles when you get some materials and wax together to make some to give as gifts? It did not look that hard in the article and they looked really cute, too.
These and other ideas can help you reduce your spending when you don’t have a budget for the holidays.
Budget for the Holidays on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Of course, there are the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. For those of you who love to get caught up in the crowds of Christmas shoppers, the rest of us applaud you. Your best defense against shopping yourself into the poorhouse is only taking enough money with you and a list of which you are planning to buy. This way, you are limiting yourself to the list and the money on-hand. When you are done with either, you are done. The shopping trip is over. Now this may sound a little like the Grinch, but you still have quite a bit of month to get through before Christmas, let alone, the New Year. There is still Cyber Monday, remember? There is more of December as well, to budget for the holidays.
When Cyber Monday comes and you should put limits there, too. You should consider using a certain amount of money and have it all available on one credit card. If you want to consider that card, your Cyber Monday budget for the holidays, even better. Get your list of Christmas gifts out and start hunting. The nice thing about Cyber Monday-it runs from 21:01 am to 11:59 pm. If you have to go to work, you have your breaks and lunch to surf your phone!
Other Bright Ways to Budget for the Holidays
These may not be bright to some of you because you have already found them but to those of you who haven’t, these are some of the best ways to cut your cost when you budget for the holidays. Here is a list of some of the sites that will give you discounts anywhere from 50%-90% when you purchase products, with family or friends, through them:
Two sites that offer discounts on businesses like spas and restaurants are:
You can cut your costs on shipping using site to store with some retailers by signing up on their website or by searching:
[Read: Get Control of Your Money]
Another little tip when you need to budget for the holidays is to skip the wrapping paper. It just ends up in the trash. If you feel the need to wrap a gift, get a little resourceful. Make that wrapping paper yourself, or get the kids involved. Part of Christmas is about love and family and this is a good time to show it.