Tips to keep you on budget this holiday season
This holiday season, be sure to give yourself a gift—by sticking to your budget. Your wallet and credit score will thank you later in the year. According to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, consumers are planning to spend about $970 this holiday season, and the bulk of that will be on gifts for friends and family. The majority of those surveyed plan to do most of their shopping online. Whether you click to make your purchases or prefer face-to-face interaction, here are four tips to help you stick to your holiday shopping budget:
- Set a budget and honor it. Don’t let a phobia of commitment keep you from making and sticking to a budget. Make an advance list of all of the gifts, decorations, travel and food expenses necessary this season, along with spending limits. Then stick to them; avoid those last-minute temptations.
- Make a gift list and be ready to delete. Write down the names and gifts for everyone you plan to buy presents for this holiday season. Be prepared to delete names, or downsize gifts, if you exceed your budget.
- Don’t forget shipping costs. Be sure to calculate shipping costs for all of your purchases. Look for coupons and consider using the “purchase online—pick up in store” option some retailers offer, to save on shipping costs. Better yet: The NRF consumer survey shows that 94 percent of shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping when making online purchases. Just be aware of any deadlines so you save money and they arrive on time!
- Price check with your phone. Put your smartphone to work and comparison shop ahead of time. The NRF survey finds that more than 60 percent of consumers plan to use their phones to research purchases before they buy.
Just in case you’re stuck on exactly what to buy for those on your list, the survey shows that six out of 10 people are hoping for gift cards and 55 percent would like to receive clothing. Whether you choose “plastic cash” or a sweater for a gift, keep in mind that working with a financial coach at a NeighborWorks organization like Community Action Partnership of North Alabama can help you stick to your budget, as well as set and reach your overall financial goals.
(Featured image via Creative Commons)