The gift-giving season can turn even the thriftiest into shopaholics. Even if you’re armed with a strict budget, a pre-planned gift list and the best of intentions, it’s still easy to overspend—particularly if you’re doing all your shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. If you are serious about not going into debt for the holiday season, here are strategies to stick to your budget:
Do all your shopping online
You don’t need to set foot in a store at all. Shop on online platforms that have free shipping (and returns). Take advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday online sales. (Have your list prepared in advance, just as you might when shopping in stores.) You could be completely done with shopping even before the yuletide.
Get a personal shopper
Paying someone else to purchase your gifts may sound extreme, but drastic measures may be required to prevent overspending. If you don’t want to pay for help, enlist a friend and swap lists—you buy her presents and she gets yours. When you are shopping for someone else, you’re not as emotionally involved in the purchase and are more likely to stick to the budget.
Try the 10-minute rule
Carry your item around for 10 minutes to give yourself time to decide whether you really want it. Likewise, if you are shopping online, place your items in the cart and set a timer for 10 minutes. A possible added bonus for online shopping could be additional discounts. Inversely, you may realise that you do not need the item.
Find a reasonably priced gift that just about everyone on your list would love, which helps create a really predictable gift budget. This is easier as you do not have to keep guessing the type of gifts each person on your list needs.
Give gift cards
You can also send gift cards worth different amounts so the recipient can pick exactly what they want. If gift cards seem impersonal, add a little something that’s inexpensive and impressionable.