Tips to Prevent Overspending at Christmas
Last Updated: July 13, 2010
Christmas season is stressful enough with family coming into town, who is staying where, and who is cooking the holiday dinner. Add to all of that stress, the stress of buying gifts for family and friends and trying to figure out how you are going to pay for all of this stuff! We have grand intentions when we head off to the mall, but our bank account and credit cards are telling us another story - watch your spending!
There are ways you can prevent overspending at Christmas and it doesn't mean having to cut your list down to one or two people. You just need to be a little more creative and remember it is not the gift that counts - it is the thought behind it that matters most.
Tips to Use When You Head Off to the Mall
- Prepare a budget. How much can you really afford to spend without pulling out your credit cards?
- Make a List. Before you start shopping, make a list of everyone for whom you want to buy presents. Examine it closely. Can you get by giving casual acquaintances or co-workers cards instead of gifts?
- Set Spending Limits. Decide on the amount you want to spend on each person who makes the "cut" in your Christmas list. Make sure the total fits within the overall budget you came up with in the beginning.
- Have you considered inexpensive but personal gifts? Ideas include attractively wrapped home-baked goods, small photo albums with a summary of the past year's events and framed pictures of your family or children. I find these gifts are sometimes more appreciated than something just purchased at the store.
- If you know the specific gifts you intend to purchase, check out your local paper and the internet for sales, and comparison shop ahead of time, if possible.
Tips to Use While You Are Shopping
- Avoid impulse purchases. If it isn't on your list or is not for a specific person, don't buy it.
- Take a calculator with you while you shop so you know the "running total" on how much you have spent as you go along.
- Stick to your budget. If you have the money available, take only the cash you have allotted yourself for gifts, and leave your credit cards at home.
Following these simple tips will keep your Christmas spending in check and will leave you with some money for the next year. Your family and friends will just be happy you thought of them around the holidays so giving them a simple but well thought out gift will go further than the most expensive item in the store.