The Art of Holiday Shopping!
The holidays are here! In what seems like a blink of an eye, we will soon be preparing for family get togethers, travel plans and buying gifts for the ones we love. This time of year can also bring extra stress around our personal finances. This is especially true this season as prices have risen on everything from food to fuel to everyday items. We are dealing with the real Grinch, also known as inflation! How can you balance making your loved one’s holiday with the coolest gifts while not breaking the bank? We have a few ideas for you.
First, create a holiday shopping budget. It is a smart idea to plan ahead and avoid overspending during this festive season. Here are some tips I found from various sources:
- Begin by making a list of your expected holiday expenses. Here is an example1:
Making a list will give you a basic idea of things that you will need to pay for and make it easier to prioritize if you must limit your spending. In addition to listing out your expenses, create a detailed shopping list.2
- Look at how much money you have to spend during the holiday season and decide your spending limit. It is important to keep your budget realistic, so you don’t overspend. Refer to your gift and holiday expense list you have already created. Divide your budget according to the different spending categories you will have this holiday season.3
- Start saving early. If you put aside money each month to cover your holiday expenses at the very start of the year, you will stress a lot less about your holiday spending when the time comes. Consult last year's budget to see how much you spent, then divide that number by 12.4
- Shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to see if you can get anything on your list on sale. You can also use online tools like price trackers and comparison websites to find the best deals. 5
- Don’t wait until the last minute. Shopping early can help you avoid impulse buying and shipping fees. You can also take advantage of free or low-cost gift wrapping services offered by some retailers. 6
- Do most of your shopping online. Shopping online can save you money and time, as it gives you the ability to comparison shop to find the best price. Don't forget to look for free shipping codes and allow plenty of time for your gifts to arrive. 7
- Make DIY presents for those closest to you. Homemade gifts can be more meaningful and personal than store-bought ones, and they can also save you money. You can make things like candles, cookies, ornaments, jewelry, or photo albums. 8
- Review your finances and create a strict holiday shopping budget on paper. As you begin to purchase gifts and spend money be sure to subtract the amount from your running Christmas budget total. This will let you know how well you are sticking to your budget and will make it easier to adjust between categories if needed. Tracking your spending is the biggest key to sticking to your budget. 9
As for some good ideas for great gifts or experiences on a low budget, here are some suggestions I found from various sources:
- A personalized charcuterie board. Simple but thoughtful, this personalized serving board adds a bit of elegance to any gathering. You can customize it with the recipient’s name, initials, or a message. Etsy has several for under $25
On Amazon I found several cool gifts that also won't break the budget! (And usually have free shipping!)
- An ambient moon lamp. This realistic moon lamp gives off a soothing ambient glow to brighten up a room. Whether one uses it as a subtle night light or as a room accessory, they’ll have fun matching the lamp to their mood with its multiple color options.
- A daily journal that is easy to keep up with. Starting a mindful habit is easy with a five-minute gratitude journal. One can jot down affirmations and moments of gratitude twice daily and begin feeling inspired in no time.
- A mini waffle maker. A tiny waffle maker is perfect for single-serve breakfasts or meal prep. It’s compact for confined spaces, heats up in a few minutes, and has a non-stick surface that is easy to clean.
- A realistic cereal bowl candle. A cereal bowl-shaped candle makes for a whimsical and fun decor piece while filling the space with a sweet French vanilla scent.
I hope these tips and ideas help you create a good holiday shopping budget and find some great gifts for your loved ones. Happy holidays! 😊