People tend to spend the most money during the winter holiday season for gifts, travel, and entertainment than at any other time during the year. But it is really necessary to continue the tradition of overspending, building debt, and creating false expectations year after year? Here are 4 ways to approach your holiday shopping that will allow you to appreciate this time of year without sacrificing the rest of the year:
1) Cut back on your list. Really examine your list and make sure that those for whom you are buying gifts deserve them, will appreciate them, or will return the favor. Some people may appreciate a home-made gift (such as baked goods) or a shared event (such as going to the movies or a play).
2) Make a budget and spend within it. This activity is difficult, but the discipline it builds will help when making the actual purchases. It’s the thought that counts, and more thought will lead to better gifts. Not everyone needs the most expensive or newest items, so you could benefit from discounts on slightly used, discontinued, or previous year’s models.
3) Avoid buying unnecessary warranties. Resist the pressure to buy an extended warranty or service contract for most products. Many long-term warranties just duplicate the product’s standard warranty and are rarely worth the extra upfront cost.
4) Get started early and plan. Many of the best deals are available well before the holiday doors open, and you can find large variations in prices depending on the time of day. For next year, you can begin your saving and planning early, especially if you are buying non-perishable goods with longer shelf lives. It pays to look for hidden value.
With a little strategy and planning, the holidays will become more enjoyable instead of bringing undue stress to health and wealth. Be discerning in your purchases, and the rewards will last all year. Happy Holidays!
Did you know? Many people are last minute holiday shoppers. Between December 15 and December 24, 40% of the entire holiday season sales are made. It’s advantageous to fight the urge to wait.