The holiday season makes people into either Santa Clauses – spreading holiday cheer – or Grinches. It’s a very divisive holiday in a sense that it either makes people incredibly happy or sad, alive or empty, joyous or bitter and every other polarizing feeling you can think of.
One of the things we can trace when trying to uncover this polarizing feeling is people usually don’t get to fully prepare ahead for the season. The most common underlying factor is the need and lack of money to spend for everything holiday-related – decors, new clothes, parties to attend to and of course, gifts. While the season shouldn’t be defined by anything monetary, we need to acknowledge that having a budget clearly defines whether the season will be a relaxed or stressful one.
This doesn’t mean you need to have a big budget for holiday spending either. If you follow these Santa-approved tips when doing your shopping, you will realize that you don’t have to break the bank or get into too much debt when buying for your loved ones.
1. Set a budget and stick to it.
2. Identify and segregate your budget for gifts, food, travel, parties.
3. Write your Christmas list – the list of people you want (or need) to buy gifts for. This tip never gets old. Even Santa does this – he even checks his twice. You should too!
4. If you have children and they write their Christmas lists too (but instead of gifts they would to like to give, they would write down the gifts they would like to receive), be honest up front that will get some things from their wish list but not all. Be fair. If you spend a certain amount on one child, be sure to do the same with the rest of his siblings.
5. Pay in cash or debit whenever possible. This allows you to be realistic when spending.
6. Consider giving family gifts to families you are close to. For example, you can give amusement park ticket passes to your sibling’s family or a staycation from a Groupon deal.
7. Consider giving homemade gifts. This tip is not for everyone, as some spend more when they try to make their own. So consider this carefully. It will surely be a sentimental, personalized and thoughtful approach to gift-giving though.
8. Create new budget-friendly Christmas traditions. It doesn’t mean that if you can’t afford a tradition you’ve been used your holidays are gone for already – create new ones. Remember: meaningful memories, the kind that sticks even after so many years, are brought about by experiences, not things. Invest in these types of traditions.
Now, if by any chance you really don’t have any budget for Christmas shopping this year, don’t fret. You can still turn things around. There are Christmas catalogues with Buy Now Pay Later features you can take advantage of. You just have to open a credit account with them to work out a payment arrangement but the rest of it will be easy. Be wise when spending though. Remember this is something you still have to work for, so again, it is still best to set a cap or a budget limit on how much you are going to spend.