1. Make a list of people you need gifts for.
Sit down by yourself or with your significant other to create a list of people you should shop for during the holidays. Prioritize your list by first listing the immediate family, close friends, and then any additional people you want to spread some holiday cheer too.
2. Set an overall holiday budget.
Look at your finances and strategize how you can start saving today. Look at the list of people you wrote down to try to estimate how much you want to spend on everyone. Then, set your holiday gifting budget so you don’t stretch yourself too thin when the actual holidays hit. Whether you have to transfer $15 into your savings every week or transfer a chunk of your paycheck every pay day, do what makes you feel most comfortable financially.
3. Divide your budget amongst the people on your list.
Remember how I was saying that you should prioritize your list? This is where it really comes in handy. Portion out your budget to see exactly how much you should spend on each person. Typically people spend more on those who are closest to you than those who aren't. Also think about the types of gifts you are wanting to buy them. For example, say your sister loves to play with make-up and your brother has liked all the lounge shirts you’ve bought him in years past. Then you might consider giving a larger portion towards your sister’s present since make-up is typically more expensive than a nice t-shirt. This way you can try to make your budget for each individual as realistic and accurate as possible.
4. Do some pre-shopping research.
Biggest advice is to first do some snooping to see what would be a great gift to give to them. You can even ask them some subtle questions to see what they’ve been needing lately. Then think about the different ideas you could go with and see which one would be best for them and for your budget. Search for all different types of things they would like and bust out the Pinterest for even more ideas. Don’t be afraid to try to get creative with it too! Some of the coolest gifts are the ones they never thought they would get but know that they will love it.
5. Keep track and take advantage of holiday sales.
While doing your pre-shopping research, pay attention to upcoming sales and other money saving opportunities. Almost all retail websites have a subscription discount so be sure to at least use that. Through personal experience and my love for saving money, I've found that about 75% of the time there's always a discount out there to use. With those newsletters you can even receive notifications for pop-up sales. Every holiday season there’s at least one type of sale on an individual item. Another idea is to go in on a transaction with a friend to get that discount you need. This works for membership discounts, BOGO discounts, bulk order discounts, or discounts that only work if you spend a certain amount.
6. Don't spend all of your money at one time.
I know, I know… It’s super easy to push back Christmas shopping, but I promise that spreading out spending over multiple weeks will help you a lot not only money wise but stress wise too. Many websites have a payment plan called AfterPay that takes your cart total and divides it up into 4 interest free payments. Using AfterPay has personally been my saving grace, and their app makes it super easy to keep track of upcoming payments. Spreading out your shopping and taking advantage of payment plans like these, will save you from seeing that scary credit card bill at the end of the month.
No one wants to stress about money and bills over the holidays. Strategizing and planning your spending will completely save your Christmas holiday. Get started today on these 6 simple steps so that you can enjoy all the holiday celebrations with your friends and family. Don’t forget to make mental notes on what worked best for you and repeat these easy steps to prepare for the many Christmas holidays to come.