Be a Better Shopper This Holiday Season

The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but for some they can also be a deceptively stressful time of year. Tight purse strings, limited budgets, and pressure to find the perfect presents can make the holidays feel more like a nightmare. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way! With the right holiday budget, you can survive December happy, carefree, and without breaking the bank!


Calculate your budget

When it comes to actually establishing a holiday budget, it’s important to take a few things into account. 

  • How much money do you have to spend? 
  • Who are you buying for? 
  • What are you going to buy?
  • How much did you spend last year?

Considering these factors before you even sit down to calculate your budget can help you level your expectations and get realistic about what you’re really going to spend this season.

When you actually sit down to crunch the numbers, don’t think about how many or what kinds of presents you want, that will come later. Try to solely focus on setting a spending limit based on your monthly income, existing expenses, and past spending patterns. How much money do you usually have left over every month? Do you think that’s going to be enough based on what you spent last year? 

If your spending limit falls short of your expectations, consider trimming down some of your discretionary expenses like coffee runs and fast food. Cutting back on indulgences can help you save for gifts in the long run.


Set a per-person gift limit

While it might seem harsh, setting a per-person gift limit, especially with children, can help manage expectations, reduce spending, and reduce shopping confusion.


Buy useful gifts

If you’re going to spend your hard-earned money on a gift, wouldn’t you rather it be something someone is going to use? The best gifts tend to be ones that you not only remember and appreciate, but actually find a use for in your everyday life. When you’re shopping for gifts, aim for helpful and practical gifts. This way, you can ensure your money isn’t wasted on a gift that will never get taken out of its box.


Avoid stocking stuffers

Stocking stuffers can be so much fun! Tiny little lipsticks? Adorable! A couple candy bars? Yum! But, if you’re not careful, stocking stuffers can add up fast and they almost always end up unused or thrown away. 

Don’t get distracted by the tiny, fun, and convenient gift sets marketed as stocking stuffers, your loved ones can most likely do without them anyways. Focus on their main gifts and finding presents they will use!


Shop sustainably

By shopping secondhand this holiday season, you can give back in more ways than one. Overstock warehouses and stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army, or your local thrift shop are great places to find hidden gems, especially when you’re looking to give clothes as gifts. Shopping secondhand spares your wallet, provides unique gifts, and helps reduce your carbon footprint.


Take advantage of holiday sales and coupons

The best time to be an avid coupon cutter and sales shark is during the holiday season. Almost every store will run exclusive holiday sales, coupons, or deals at the end of the year. Keep an eye on holiday offers, pay attention to tv commercials, and regularly check your mail for coupons (both physical and digital) to make sure you don’t miss a big savings opportunity.

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