The gift-giving season can be stressful for you and your bank account, especially since the rest of your bills don’t take snow days. Financial wellbeing is important to your overall health, which is why this year we suggest you stress less about the price tag of the holidays and focus on a more strategic shopping regimen. We’ve put together the following tips to help keep you from over-shopping and overspending this holiday season.
Budgeting is best.
The best way to avoid overspending is to set a budget. Think of those you want to buy for and set a limit on the price of each gift. Decide how you want to shop and how deep into your wallet you’re willing to dig. Some people find success in one blanket gift for everyone on their list, like buying everyone the same fruitcake or hat and scarf. Others find joy in personalizing each gift, giving something that’s unique to each recipient. No matter how you shop, one thing’s for sure—you’ll fair better financially by making and adhering to a budget.
Make a list and check it twice.
Before you embark on your gift-shopping journey, have a clear objective of what exactly you’re shopping for, and for whom. Have you ever gone grocery shopping on an empty stomach? If you’re starving at the grocery store, odds are you’ll fill your cart with more food than you bargained for. It’s a common mistake, and you can struggle with the same over-shopping problem if you do your holiday shopping without a list, plan or agenda. Without a clear goal, you’re more likely to over-shop and overspend this holiday season. Be clear and concise with your gift giving this year, and stick to your list. Try a digital list or a gift-giving app to help you stay on track while on-the-go.
Do all of your shopping at once.
A little shopping here and there could result in a lot of money spent. That’s because every time you venture out to the store or begin tapping around online, you run the risk of finding another good deal or sale that you can’t refuse. If you finish your shopping in one swoop, you’ll hamper that temptation to just one outing or Internet browsing session—and help your financial state stay intact. Your financial wellbeing will flourish too, because you’re limiting all the stress and anxiety of crowded stores to one event. Take a page out of Santa’s playbook and spend just one night worrying about gifts, so you can enjoy yourself the rest of the holiday season.
Try something homespun.
Great gifts don’t have to be store bought. Try turning a hobby into a holiday favorite by using your skills to create a thoughtful present. If you knit or crochet, consider creating a warm blanket or socks for loved ones. Everyone in the mitten state could use their own pair of mittens. And who doesn’t love receiving something that’s been handcrafted just for them? If garments aren’t your thing, maybe you can paint or draw a portrait, build a birdhouse or create a culinary delight in the kitchen. Combine several treats into a basket or bin that could be repurposed for storage year-round. If you love essential oils, try creating a blend of homemade all-purpose cleaning spray with a mood-boosting scent that every living space could always use. From quilts to chocolate chip cookies, you can save some cash on gifts this year simply by being crafty.
While we all want to woo our friends and loved ones by showering them with gifts, it’s best to remember this: it’s still the thought that counts – not the price tag. The holidays have their way of affecting our mental health and physical state through stress and anticipation, the last thing we need is to let this time of year strain our financial wellbeing any more than it has to. So go shopping, but please keep your wellbeing, and in this case, your bank account, in mind.