Most holiday shoppers report year after year that they spent more that season than expected, and many of us take on unwanted debt to make this happen. Whether it resulted from buying gifts not originally on our list, expensive last minute shipping charges, or here's one of my favorite... accidentally buying one gift when you forgot you already had one (yes, I've done that!), there are a handful of ways we can find ourselves overspending in the holidays, and ending up in January with a bucket full of spending guilt! Here are 8 tips you can use to reduce the chances of this happening to you this year:
- Make a budget. This one is number 1 for a reason! Hands down the most important step you can take to avoid overspending. Budget for gifts and make sure to include any holiday entertaining/travel and any holiday gratuities.
- Plan ahead, make shopping lists, watch for sales and use the almighty Google to find promo codes when you're ready to start shopping.
- Speak up! Be honest with friends and family around you. If you can't afford something, let them know. You can suggest alternatives, let them know you'll try to make it next year, or something of the like. Chances are, you're not the only one is this position and by mentioning it, you may reduce the tension others are feeling too.
- Avoid the one for you, one for me... and other impulse buys. 'Nuf Said.
- Get creative: Where can you DIY? In the age of Pinterest, DIY ideas are galore... even for you guys out there! Need some tips? Try this: www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/diy-christmas-gifts. Here in the office we've done everything from homemade vanilla extract to candles and bath bombs and teas.
- Do you have any rewards points you can use for shopping or travel?
- Consider dumping the plastic and sticking with the old-fashioned cash envelope system. That may sound archaic in the age of digital pay options, but it works! Feeling the physical separation from those bills makes it significantly harder to overspend.
- And finally, remember it's the thought that counts. Our chances of finding the perfect present for everyone is slim, and the quest to do so can come with significant costs. Years ago, when I left my corporate job to start my own practice, I really went deep on the DIY thing and began to have fun thinking of new ideas every year to say "I'm thinking of you" to those around me. Give it a little time and thought, and you just may begin to enjoy that too.