The holiday season is known for being a huge budget drain. In fact, many people will rack up so much debt on their credit cards while shopping for the season that they spend the better half of the following year paying it off. So before you max out your personal and small business credit cards to make sure that all your favorite friends and family members get exactly what they want this holiday season, keep a few of the following tips in mind:
It is not your responsibility to make sure that everyone has the best holiday season ever. You dont need to provide the best gifts, cook the most extravagant meals, or purchase every quaint decoration in the world so others can enjoy. Get them in the forefront of your thoughts, and you will feel much better throughout the season.
Set a Budget
You know how much money you make. You know how much you have left over at the end of each month. Dont sacrifice your retirement funds for the sake of holiday shopping. Set a reasonable budget and stick to it. No matter what. This might be a good time to look at your credit card rewards and start planning how to use them in your purchases such as converting points to gift certificates at select stores.
Create a Shopping List
One of the best ways to keep yourself from overspending is by creating and adhering to a shopping list. Create a list of all of those you need to buy for and then write the items you intend to buy for those individuals. Stick to this list no matter what ? even if you see something and think, ?Oh! That would be perfect for so-and so.?
Start Shopping Earlier
If you wait until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping, there is a good chance that you will exceed your monthly pay amount and have to charge items. Avoid using credit cards by making purchases gradually. By the time the actual holidays roll around, you wont have to fight the lines and you will have purchased everything without having to worry about high interest rates. If you do use your credit card for shopping because of cash backs/points/extended warranty make sure you pay the full balance in order to avoid interest.
Its not new news that shopping online can save you money. After you have created your shopping list, see what you cant buy online. If you find that most of the items you wanted to purchase for others were cheaper online, go for it. You wont have to worry about the long lines, high prices, and vicious parking at department stores.
The holiday season can cost you quite a bit of money, but it doesnt have to be the money draining, credit card maxing event that most turn it in to. Be reasonable and smart with your money, and you will be able to enjoy the holiday season without stressing out about the next time the credit card bill arrives.
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