11 Tips for Holiday Shopping on a Budget
Number of people around us, including ourselves of course, find it hard to stay on budget during the holiday season. It can be really taxing to purchase top quality gifts that are affordable and would not burden our pockets. If you are getting anxious that how you will be able to cope with this complicated prospect, we bring to you some handy tips and come to your rescue.
1 – Get to know your budgetary constraints
A budget is the only tool that can help you stay within your budgetary constraints during the hectic holiday shopping season. You can accomplish this, you need to be confident about the amount that is at your disposal to be spent in terms of gifts.
You also want to determine if you are planning to get through this strenuous season without credit debt and in such a scenario, you have to get to know the money at your disposal. If you fail in formulating a viable budget and you do not have lots of cash coming your way, the probability that your money is going to get spent in a swish will be very high.
2 – Make your shopping list and review it again and again
Now, make a list of people that you want to purchase gifts for including friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers etc. Also, keep in mind that you will have to tip the service people such as your housekeeper, hairdresser, gardener etc.
Scribble the total amount that you have allocated for this shopping spree at the top of the list and then decide the amount of money you want to spend on each person’s gift. If you get drained of money before you are even finished with the list, go back, start all over again and try to be more conservative in your estimate this time.
3 – Cash-strapped? Can I skip the service people?
If you are even thinking of skipping the service people, then you better think twice. Keep in mind that they work for you all throughout the year tirelessly to ensure that you lead an organized life. And hey, if you have enough money to employ them, then you should be able to even tip them this once in a year.
Here are the appropriate tipping amounts in this post. This post will also help you out if you forgot to tip the service people and you are cash strapped now.
4 – Manage your time well
A major reason that people get cash-strapped during the holiday shopping season is that they are not able to appropriately manage their time and when they rush out to purchase gifts, they end up getting the more expensive ones. You can prevent yourself from falling into that trap.
Look for online alternatives by comparing prices, searching out for coupons, checking for guarantee price policies, shipping costs and return policies. Bookmark your favorite online store so you can stay updated with the latest promotions.
Also, a number of online stores come with a feature whereby they give alerts and notifications to their subscribers via telephone or email if the prices drop. You can get benefit from this feature since number of brick and mortar stores are replicating this trend.
5 – Get to know the best time to visit the store
Stay updated with the latest promotional events taking place in your favorite department store. Subscribe to their mailing lists so that you acquainted with the special discount offers. You may hesitate at first to contact the mall associates, but once you get used to, you will be surprised to see the amount of savings you can bundle up by staying updated.
A number of individuals working in the sales section of these stores are greatly stressed at this time of the year since they are supposed to meet up their sales targets. They will even inform you about the coming week’s markdown.
6 – Get access to store coupons
Visit the mall office and ask if there are any promotions or store coupons available. People are generally of the opinion that malls run promotions only on Black Friday, but number of malls run promotions all through the holiday season. You may end up getting a $10 mall certification for every $100 you spend.
The associates at the mall also keep coupons with them throughout the year to ensure that their customers stay satisfied. By the end of the year, they are about to expire and the employees are willing to hand them over to anyone who asks for one.
You may even purchase the mall coupon books for a few bucks and during the holiday season, almost all the stores will have a coupon in it. You may even check in the food courts for the coupons.
7 – Re-gifting could be an option
You may even re-gift one of the gifts you received but did not use. There is no stigma anymore related to re-gifting. As long as you comply with the rules of re-gifting, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
There are probably number of people in your gifts list who would die for that he lovely angora wool scarf you received from your grandma last year but you never got to used it. Box it up, wrap it around in a nice paper sheet and give it away as a lovely gift.
8 – Homemade gifts
You can even go for making or baking gifts. A homemade gift has a splendor of its own. If you are not a great chef, you can go for something a lot simpler that can be bought in bulk and distributed among people in your gift list.
Different homemade products that are considered a great gift include flavored mustard, sauces, homemade oil and vinegar. You may distribute some pecans among your neighbors, relatives and other loved ones. This way you will not have to be worried about your budgetary constraints and you won’t have to fret over searching for gifts that cost less than $10 and still seem to be decent enough to be given away as gifts.
Here is a handy tip for you: If you run short on time, you can pay a visit to a dollar shop and get sauces and nuts during the holiday season. However, you should wrap it up again and add some vibrant ribbons and bows to add a bit of holiday season touch.
9 – Cash or credit?
If you have been ushered into the holiday season without any substantial planning, the use of credit cards could prove to be detrimental to all your attempts at keeping a lid on your expenses. I am familiar with only a bunch of people who know how to control their spending but most of the people out there are too much tempted with all the glorious stuff available on the market to prevent themselves from buying it.
If you are one of these people who won’t be able to stop themselves from using their credit cards, then we strongly advise you to leave your credit cards at home before you go out for the holiday shopping spree. The benefits that you are likely to get from the credit card company will be significantly small in contrast to the amount of saving you will be able to do with your cards left at home.
10 – Wrap your gifts with love
Wrap up your gifts with utmost care and love to make them look beautiful. Add plenty of bows and ribbons to add that holiday flavor to enhance the anticipation of the gift wrapped inside the bundle.
11 – Stay updated with the prices
Once you have purchased gifts and delivered them to the intended personnel, there is still an opportunity to save some money on them once the holidays are over. A number of stores offer price adjustment deals within a limited time if a merchandise is lowered in terms of its price that you paid. Do not forget to visit the stores from where you bought the most expensive of gifts and keep an eye at the prices.
If you purchased the gifts at stores that follow strict price adjustment policies, and you find out that the gifts you bought have been marked down, then, voila! You are one lucky chap!
I always save the money that I get through price adjustments for myself and give myself a beautiful gift with that money.