With Black Friday right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts. The sooner you create a plan for your holiday shopping, the easier it will be to buy the best gifts for each person on your list, and the more likely you’ll be to save money while doing so.
Here are some simple but effective strategies to help you save money this holiday season.
- Set Up a Holiday Shopping Budget
You absolutely should have a budget for holiday shopping. Having a budget is your best strategy for saving money this holiday season, because it holds you accountable. Determine the maximum amount of money you’re willing and able to spend on holiday gifts this year, and then break that amount down into a separate line item for each person you plan to buy for. All of your holiday gifts should be accounted for in your budget. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can get around your budget by charging gifts to a credit card. No matter which payment method you use for your gifts, they should fit into your budget.
- Make a Gift List
A good way to stay within your budget is to make a list of those you plan to buy for this year. Then, make a gift list for them. Stick to whatever dollar amount you set for them in your shopping budget. When you’re buying for several different people, it’s helpful to be organized. Using a gift list can help you plan out your gift giving strategy, so you’re less likely to be drawn in by impulse buys and last-minute purchases. You can make your gift lists on paper, or you can do them digitally. There are many helpful apps out there to help you create a holiday gift list.
- Start Shopping Early
Starting your holiday shopping early can help you save money. The earlier you start your shopping, the more likely you are to find the items on your gift list. If you wait too late in the season, you may find that some of your planned gifts are out of stock, which could force you into buying more expensive alternatives. Shopping early can also help you take advantage of special holiday deals and promotions and allow you to shop around at different stores for the best price.
- Use Coupons
While you may not find a lot of coupons in the Sunday newspaper any longer, you can often find coupon codes online. There are many websites out there that specialize in helping you find discount codes for popular online merchants. Many brands also offer discounts if you sign up for their mailing list, and some retailers have their own apps where you can access special deals.
- Take Advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving) are known for some of the best deals of the year. And many retailers offer special deals in the days leading up to and following these dates as well. And while Black Friday deals were traditionally available in-store only, most retailers now extend their Black Friday promotions to online sales as well. The good news is that most Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are advertised ahead of time, so use the internet to get a sense of which stores will have the best prices and plan your shopping strategy accordingly.
- Consider Making Homemade Gifts
You don’t have to be a crafting genius in order to make a homemade holiday gift. There are many simple DIY gifts you can make that will likely be cherished for years to come. And a homemade gift doesn’t have to be complicated. A handwritten note, meaningful poem, or personal artwork can all be some of the most thoughtful gifts you can give.
- Suggest a Secret Santa or Yankee Swap
One of the best ways to keep costs down this holiday season is to reduce the number of gifts you have to buy. Consider doing a Secret Santa or Yankee Swap with your family and friends, instead of having everyone buy a gift for every other person. These types of gift exchanges can help alleviate the pressure off holiday gift giving and can make for a fun, memorable event. With only one gift to buy, you not only save money, but you can put more time and effort into your gift selection as well.
While gift giving is a longstanding holiday tradition, it should never damage your financial wellbeing. With a little planning and dedication you can give thoughtful gifts to everyone on your list, and start the New Year off on sound financial footing. Best of luck with your holiday shopping!