It’s that time of the year again! In case you are wondering what it is all about, we are talking about Christmas, of course! To quote a lyric from Andy Williams’ classic Christmas song, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”! No doubt about that but at the same time, you just might overspend with all the Christmas shopping sprees. Unless budget is never an issue for you, here are six tips to save you from overspending this Christmas!
1) Plan Your Budget Ahead
The year-end holiday shopping season can be overwhelming. You will find amazing deals and discounts everywhere including shopping malls, departmental stores or e-retailers. These will all entice you to shop, shop and shop. Which is why it’s important to set a budget beforehand, and make sure you stick to the plan and be firm with the allocated budget.
2) Make A List
This complements your allocated budget perfectly! List out everything that you are going to spend on from gifts to travel and family dinners. It doesn’t matter whether you have the list written down on a notepad, smartphone or a laptop. Make sure you also jot down the names of the individuals regardless of your family members, relatives, friends or colleagues. The more detailed your list is, the less likely you are to overspend.
3) If Possible, Pay With Cash
Let’s face it, most of us love to shop for using a credit card. Why? Well, here is a word for you: convenient. Not to mention paying for your shopping with a credit card means you can spend more than you should. Shop first, pay later, right? Unless you are disciplined enough to pay the full amount at the end of the month, there’s a better alternative: Don’t use the credit card. Keep it aside. Lock it inside your drawer or your personal safe. Pay with cash instead. Besides, you might easily fall into the debt trap if you go crazy with your credit card. With cash, you can only pay with what you have in your wallet or purse. Even if you have extra savings in the bank, chances are you would not exhaust them just for the sake of a Christmas shopping spree.
4) Compare Prices
Whether you choose to shop at a physical store or an online retailer, always make a habit to compare the prices beforehand. Yes, we know it’s time-consuming and troublesome. But it actually helps your saving and finance in the long run. Besides, retailers can be cunning as they tend to mark up the original prices during the holiday season. This is to make the so-called “discount” as if it was a good deal not to be missed. Don’t fall for that common trap and be smart when you shop!
5) Get Creative With Homemade Gifts
Here’s a scenario: You saw a lovely Christmas-themed chocolate chip cookie in the glass jar at a confectionery store. The price is expensive but that cookie jar is too tempting to give it a miss. You know your best friend loves chocolate chip cookies so much and besides, he or she just happens to love the cookie brand as well! You might have this common mindset like “It’s only once in a year anyway.” But ask yourself this question: Is it really worth buying that cookie jar which happens to be an overpriced item? Why not take the initiative to bake some homemade cookies instead? Put it this way: homemade gifts are always unique because people usually put a lot of time and effort into making them. Done right, homemade gifts could make someone’s Christmas!
6) Host A Potluck
When it comes to the Christmas season, there’s always that tendency to spend a lot on food. This is particularly true if you have a big family or relatives coming over for lunch or dinner. If you have been doing that all the while, consider this alternative for a change: organise a potluck meal. Get everyone to chip in. That way, you get to save cost while everyone gets to enjoy a variety of food on the table.