With the holidays in full swing, many people are eagerly hitting the stores and trying to come up with the perfect gifts for everyone on their wish list. With stores offering sales and coupons, it may seem like getting a good deal is easy to do around this time of year.
Just because everything is on sale does not mean that people do not overspend. According to The Penny Hoarder, 71 percent of people spend more than they planned to on presents. More than half of shoppers—57 percent—buy presents that were not even on their shopping lists. One could say overspending during the holidays is as American as apple pie.
However, there are ways to keep from emptying your wallet this shopping season. Here are six tips to keep you from going overbudget.
Create a budget and stick to it
Creating a budget may seem like a no brainer, but it can be an effective tool, if you stick to it. You should not budget more money than you have in your bank account. There is no reason you need to add to your debt to buy presents for people. If your budget adds up to more than you have on hand, consider slimming down the people on your list or reducing what you spend on some. You really do not have to buy presents for your boss, coworker or your hairdresser.
Do not use credit cards
Since you are only spending money you have, you should not need credit cards. A good way to keep yourself honest about this is to leave your credit cards at home and only use cash when shopping for gifts. Cash will serve as a visual reminder of what you have left to spend, and when it is gone, you are done shopping.
You do not have to make it equal
You may feel compelled to spend equally on each family member, but honestly, few will notice and even fewer will care. Most people would much rather have a couple thoughtful gifts, than a whole bunch of presents they do not really need or want.
Avoid buying for yourself
With all the sales going on, it can be tempting to pick up a few things for yourself. Avoid this impulse. Remember, people are going to be giving you presents as well, so you may get some of those things you are eyeing at the store.
There are always after Christmas sales as well, which sometimes are better than the pre-holiday sales. If you have a little cash left after the holidays, you can always treat yourself then.
Skip some of those stocking stuffers
People often get carried away when they are shopping for stocking stuffers. They tend to spend money on unnecessary gifts that may wind up in the Goodwill bin or the trash. Consider limiting your stocking stuffers to candy, or just eliminate these altogether.
If you consider yourself a crafty person, you could put your skills to good use. A handmade gift is going to be completely unique, and it will have much more sentimental value than something you pick up at a superstore. Even if you are not super crafty, you could always buy prints of your favorite photos and put these in a frame. Photos are a personal gift that does not cost much.
Before you hit the stores, make a budget, leave the credit cards at home, consider making some gifts and try not to shop for yourself. Showing some restraint will make your time after the holidays much more enjoyable because you will not be dealing with a large amount of debt.