Do you have the habit of planning a budget before you start shopping for the holiday season? Researches reveal that even if people plan a budget and allocate a definite amount for an item, most people end up spending more, during the festive season. This is because often it becomes difficult to keep a track when you shop for items. However, it is not so hard to keep a check on your spending during shopping for the holiday season. Here are 7 steps which you can follow in order to stay within your budget.
1. Make a list of gifts you want to give
First of all, make a list of gift items you need to purchase. Include the names of the people for whom you want to buy gifts; if you have decided about the gifts, then check out the price to be sure that you will be able to buy that item. Be careful to not have any vague idea; instead, search online for the exact price.
2. Plan a budget based on the gifts you need to purchase
When you decide about the gifts, plan a budget based on the price. And, if you haven't decided about the gifts yet, then allocate a price within which you can search for the gift item. This will help to narrow down your search and you can look for items which fit easily within your budget. You can also search online to compare price before you actually make a purchase. This is because a store can offer an item at a much cheaper price than other stores. Similarly, you can get significant discount from a store if you buy something in bulk. If you get such an offer, then revisit your list and try to buy similar items in order to take advantage of the discount price. All these things can help you stay within your budget.
3. Search for gifts you already have at home
Many of you make a mistake of searching for things without taking a look at your home. If you have the habit of keeping things what you don't need, then it is the right time to change your habit. Before you search online or visit the stores to find your gift items, take out some time and look for things you already have at your home which you won't need or use in the near future. Make a list of these items and check your list to find out whether you can gift some of your items to others, who might use it.
Apart from looking for physical items, you can also search for gift cards or check out credit card reward points which you can use towards your holiday shopping. Gifting gift cards is a good gesture when you're not sure what the person would appreciate; and, what can be better than the person, whom you're gifting, gets the freedom to buy an item of his/her choice? For example, if a person has moved to a new home or is planning to get married, then a gift card of a furniture store might benefit him/her the most. The person will surely appreciate it as a very thoughtful gift.
4. Use your craft hobby for unique gift ideas
Instead of searching for every item in the store or online, why not get a bit creative for unique gift ideas? You can make personalized gifts like a photo frame and gift to a family member with a family picture. There are also various DIY (Do It Yourself) instructions online, which you can search for making unique inexpensive gifts at home.
5. Think of offering gift services
You can also think of gift services, which is appreciated usually by elders. For example, you can offer mowing your grandfather and grandmother's lawn or shoveling the snow after a snowfall. What can be a better gift for them during this season? And all you have to do is invest time, you won't have to spend a cent. So, when you want to curtail your budget, you can identify some people from your list whom you can offer these kind of services instead of buying physical gifts.
6. Keep a track of how you are spending
Your task doesn't end just by planning a budget and buying things accordingly. One major aspect of your budgeting is to keep a track of how you are spending. To do so, revisit your budget at regular intervals to check that you have not exceeded it. If you think that you've spent a little more on one gift, then try to save more on another item. By doing so, you'll not end up exceeding your budget.
7. Check out your list and your budget
Once you have shopped a gift, strike that off from your list. If you don't do so, then you'll never be satisfied with your shopping items. However, if you find a better deal on an item you have already purchased, then it is a wise decision to buy that item but make sure you return the previous one at the earliest or decide to gift it to some other person in your list. Therefore, when you shop for an item regardless of whether you purchase it from a store or online, make sure you check the return policy so that you don't have any difficulty later. Be careful that some of the items offered may be final purchase and you cannot return or exchange them.
To get help with your budgeting, you can search for online resources. There are certain budgeting apps with the help of which you can plan a budget and also keep a track of your progress. Some of these apps also offer you the facility of registering and saving your details, so that you don't have to do it again and again. You can just make a plan and keep filling out the required fields in order to keep a track of your spending. This may help you manage your holiday shopping and personal finance in a better way.