9 Ways to Keep Holiday Spending under Control This Year
It’s hard not to get caught up in the holiday spirit of giving and keep holiday spending under control.
Holiday retail sales are expected to increase this year between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018 and total around $730 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.¹
Consumers will spend an average of $1,047.83 per person. Specifically…
- $695 will be spent on gifts for family, friends, and coworkers.
- $227 will be spent on food and decorations.
- $162 will be spend on non-gift purchases for self or family.²
Below are 9 ways you can give, be jolly, and keep holiday spending under control.
#1 Decide How Much You Will Spend
Decide in advance how much you will spend per person, and then create a budget.
Buying online can prevent impulse shopping, so search online for items within your price range.
If you do go shopping on Black Friday, take your budget with you and stick to it.
If you’ve already done some of your holiday shopping, not to worry. Just make sure you stay within your budget with the rest of your gifts.
#2 Prioritize Your List
You may want to spend more on immediate family than you do friends and coworkers. If so, make sure you list who gets what amount.
Buy the most important purchases first. That way if you overspend or something comes up and you have to divert funds, you will have the most important gifts already purchased.
While prioritizing your list, see if you might be able to make some gifts instead of buying them.
#3 Check for Deals Before You Shop
Another way to keep holiday spending under control is to check out deals before you purchase.
Check out Blalck Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holiday deals ahead of time. When it comes time to shop those deals, resist the temptation to buy more (or to buy for yourself!).
#4 Shop in Advance
Chances are, if you wait until the day before Christmas to shop, you’ll end up spending more because, when you’re in a hurry, you are less likely to stick to a budget.
Whether online or in stores, shop for all your holiday gifts in advance. It will also take the stress off and allow you to actually enjoy the holiday season.
#5 Use Your Credit Card Only If You Can Pay It Off ASAP
Think about this: If you were to charge $1,000 on holiday gifts, decorations, and food, what would the true cost be in the future?
If your credit card charges 18% interest per month, and you pay $50 each month, it might take up to 24 months to pay it off.
Do you really want to be paying for your 2019 holiday gifts in December of 2021? We doubt it.
If you plan on using your credit card to take advantage of cash back rewards or to earn airline miles, make it a point to pay it off ASAP.
If you don’t trust yourself to pay off your credit card before your next statement, leave your credit card in the drawer and use your debit card or cash.
Your future self will thank you for it!
#6 Make Gifts for Your Kids’ Teachers and Neighbors
Keep holiday spending under control and make gifts this year.
Making presents not only reins in spending, but it’s also something the whole family can participate in.
The possibilities are endless: cookies, fudge, taffy, homemade bath and body products.
#7 Use Your Christmas Bonus to Purchase Gifts
If you receive a holiday bonus, allocate money from that to pay for gifts or pay off your credit card for the holiday purchases you charged.
Before you allocate the money, make sure you are in fact receiving a holiday bonus this year.
The last thing you want is to find yourself in a position like Clark Griswald from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation!
#8 Use Your Credit Card Rewards to Purchase Gifts
Depending on your credit card rewards program, you might be able to redeem gift cards or cash to use for holiday gifts.
If this is an option, why not gift your niece or son a gift card to a major retailer? Or take the cash back and apply it to your holiday purchase balance?
#9 Talk to Family and Friends about Gift Spending
Perhaps the best way to keep holiday spending under control is not to spend at all.
If you’re trying to save as much as you can for retirement or are working aggressively to pay off debt, talk to your family about not exchanging gifts this year.
You never know–other family members or friends might be in the same boat you are and will be relieved not to exchange gifts.
Another option is to ask for cash instead of gifts, and then apply the cash toward your debt or savings.
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