Many people have already bought their gifts for the upcoming holiday. However, I know some of you out there – me included – have waited until the last minute. In the past, I have struggled to find money or used credit cards to buy gifts. These four tips have allowed me to buy nice gifts and avoid compiling debt.
1. Save for Gifts. It is good practice to set up an automatic transfer or manually transfer money to a savings account for holiday shopping. First, come up with an amount to spend on everyone. Then, divide that amount by your number of pay periods. That number becomes an amount that may be easier to save and you will have enough to spend on family and friends. It’s a great feeling to be in this position. Try starting this in January.
2. Shop Early. Shopping early is great for those who like to buy gifts throughout the year and limits the stress of buying all of them in December. It also allows you to spread out your spending. Also, this may guarantee you won’t have to search for a special gift that is sold out or unavailable.
3. Search for Coupons & Deals. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great opportunities for saving money, retailers offer deals earlier each year or days before the actual holiday. Search for deals and coupons before you purchase gifts online or in person. You can find deals and coupons online through an internet search, in local newspapers or coupon clippers. These days you shouldn’t have to pay full price for most items unless it’s for a newly released item.
4. Use Your Credit Card Rewards AND Payoff Credit Card Debt Before Interest Accrues. Many people use their credit cards to obtain rewards (e.g., miles, cash, gift cards, etc.). This time of the year is a great time to cash in those rewards for gifts. I love the ability to use my credit card rewards instead of my actual credit for gifts. If you have to use a credit card to purchase gifts, we have all been there, try to spend only what you can afford to pay off before the new year or the interest accrues. You don’t want to add to your debt or your stress about money and bills.
There are so many tips for holiday spending, but these have helped me, and my clients, minimize stress, spend wisely and stay out of debt. Maybe one day I won’t wait until the last few days before the holiday to buy gifts.
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