How To Shop Smarter This Holiday
We all love giving the perfect gift but it can get expensive. Racking up credit card debt during the holidays is an all too common occurrence. Keep your finances in check with a little holiday shopping preparation this year.
Do Your Homework - And Start Early!
The key to a successful and debt-free holiday season is doing all the homework you can before buying anything. Write down a list of people whom you will be purchasing a gift for and then brainstorm what an appropriate gift would be. Once you have an idea start researching on various retailers’ websites and in-store. If you have an ironclad list of things to buy it is much easier to stick to it and avoid adding on or switching to something else if the item is momentarily out of stock.
The perfect gift doesn’t have to be expensive. Do you have a special skill? Would someone on your list get something out of you offering a homemade gift or service? Sometimes the best thing to give doesn’t require a trip to the store. You can get some great ideas from DIY websites and Pinterest. Try something out! You may even discover a new skill in the process.
Keep An Eye On The Deals
Sales are a huge part of the season but finding the right time to buy can be tricky. If you are purchasing a hot item like toys and electronics waiting until Black Friday or Cyber Monday will be your best bet. For everything else you have to keep an eye on the changing deals. Many retailers have bigger sales as the holidays grow closer but you always risk the product being out of stock if you wait too long.
Use Cash Only (If You Can)
Going too far during the holidays can be avoided if you have a hard limit - like only using the cash you have on hand. Budget what you will need to spend before hitting the stores and then only bring that much cash. If you leave the cards at home you will be unable to go off-list. If you trust yourself to stay on target using cash might still be a smart choice since you won’t be racking up any credit card debt for later.
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