Use apps such as Gift Plan to organize your spending this holiday season
For many people, holiday shopping is a way to show loved ones that they care. Unfortunately, it also tends to lead to higher levels of debt. Whether you’re an extravagant shopper or a simple shopper, use these five tips to save on your holiday spending this season.
- Develop a realistic budget that won’t break the bank, and stick to it. List the people you want to buy (or make) gifts for, and next to each name, write down how much you can afford to spend. Do not exceed these limits, no matter what. Bring cash instead of credit cards to help you toe the line.
- Harness the power of technology. Use apps such as Better Christmas List and Gift Plan to help organize and track your shopping. In addition, price trackers such as camelcamelcamel.com enable you to look at the price history of gifts you’re considering. You’ll see its highest and lowest price positions for the past few days, and when you’re near the low range, you know to buy. You may not be buying as many gifts, but having interactive tools at your fingertips makes the experience more fun than ever.
- Bake or make gifts instead of buying them. Homemade gifts such as cookies come with a lot of love, and if you have children, involve them in the experience. Fun gifts to bake or make include cookies, hot chocolate, salsa, brownie mix jars and photo clocks.
- Let your kids choose the gifts they give. Take the little folks to a dollar store or a store such as Goodwill, give them lists of the people they are buying for and how much they have to spend. This saves some planning on your part and encourages creativity and budgeting in kids.
- Start shopping in January. It pays to start your holiday shopping early. Focus on one person (or several people at most) per month until November or December. Spreading the spending out eases the impact on your budget.