The holiday season is upon us, broke girls and boys, and it’s time to accept the fact that your bank account is going to be angry at you. The pressure to buy perfect gifts can be overwhelming when you know that you still have to buy groceries, pay the cable bill and take care of all your other expenses this month.
While the spending is almost always inevitable, the stress doesn’t have to be. There are ways to take on this year’s holiday havoc in a manageable way, while also cutting back on the money you dish out.
Valley’s got some tips on how to Christmas shop without breaking the bank:
Set a price limit for yourself before you go out and shop, and stick to it! Decide how much you want to spend on each person (realistically), and you will feel much more relaxed while shopping.
“If you’re going to budget, put the money away for that and don’t use it until the time comes to do your shopping,” says finance professor, Gary Gray.
Choose an appropriate shopping location
Where you shop can determine how much you spend. Yes, you may want to impress your friends and gain the title of “best gift giver,” but it’s important to realize that they won’t expect you to spend all of your money on a new pair of Lululemon leggings for them. Instead, head over to Marshall’s or T.J. Maxx and search for workout pants there.
Plus side: You won’t leave feeling like you just sold your soul to the devil.
Make a list
Do some research on what you want to buy before you spend a ton of money on some random face moisturizer for your mom. After you’ve got some ideas, write them down on a list to keep yourself feeling organized. When you get to the mall, you’ll be able to get the job done quickly and efficiently!
Start saving ahead of time
“Take whatever amount you want to allocate to it, and put it away, whether it’s in a savings account or what, and every month you add to it and that’s your first movement,” says Professor Gray. “As the month goes along you’ll be spending money on other things, but if you place the money away first that you needed to make the purchase, then its less likely that you’ll use that money for those other things.”
Start saving over the summer to avoid worrying about having enough money for the holidays. Christmas comes no matter what, so help your future-self out and save, save, save!
While shopping is an important part of Christmas, always remember at the end of the day that there’s more to this magical season than presents.