For holiday shopping, we always face one problem: what to buy that doesn’t bankrupt you? Even if you persuade yourself to buy expensive gifts thinking “never mind, it’s holiday season!” you will most likely suffer from shopper’s remorse when your credit card bills roll in. To help you this kind of situation, we have seven strategies. Let’s get on with those strategies.
1) Create a master list: Most of the times, you have to buy gifts for the same people. So make a master list and you will only have to make changes to it every Labor Day for the holiday season that year. Also, you can create a column in the list for the personal preferences. For example, you know your colleague loves books – specifically romantic fiction – you should note it down in the list. So whenever you see romantic fiction going on sale, you know you should get one and save a bit in the bargain.
2) Keep gift list handy: Make a gift list separate from the master list and keep it in your purse. Refer it during your breaks or when you see bargains online or offline. Sooner or later, the gift list will be impressed on your mind and you will be ready to grab the bargains without panicking.
3) Grouping of gifts: First of all, you need to decide on the total shopping budget for the season. Then group people by category of family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and others. Divide your total budget between various categories realistically. If you don’t have enough budget to stretch for everyone, let’s say co-workers, then plan to make the gifts for one group instead. Make changes in the list if and when necessary.
4) Find prices online: It’s always wise to check for the prices online before shopping in-store. Use online search engines such as “shopping bot” to help you check prices on various websites. It will help you find the best price for any given item. For example, you are looking to buy a Panasonic camera, just type that into a search engine box and you will find a list of all online retailers who are offering it along with the prices. You can even save on shipping by buying it bit early because few eCommerce stores offer free shipping if you buy before a certain date.
5) Stick to your budget: Buying expensive gifts is tempting because they are usually displayed in an attractive manner. You need to practice restrain if you don’t want to go beyond the budget you have already allocated for each category. Stick to it religiously while shopping. It would be wise if you complete shopping for important presents first – parents, partner and kids. That way even if you go overboard, you are doing it for your loved ones.
6) Pay your bills in cash: One of the best ways to avoid overspending is to buy on cash. When you start shopping, leave all your credit cards at home. That way, if you run out of cash, you will automatically need to stop shopping. If you are using debit card, then you will need to keep a tally of how much cash you withdrew during the start of each gift-shopping session.
7) Use prepaid debit card: If you are feeling uncomfortable about carrying lot of cash, try prepaid debit card – which works like a credit card. The only difference is, you have to pay the balance up front into the card. Every time you make a purchase with it, the balance will be deducted from the total. The beauty of debit card is you get the protection of credit card and you can easily dispute charges that appear on your statement. However, don’t forget to have a built-in spending limit. If you want to have such a card, visit your bank. They will let you know the exact procedures.
Do you know any other strategy to save money during holiday shopping season? Share it with us!