The 2021 Holiday Season is here! I know, I can’t believe it either. Regardless, it’s time to start buying all your holiday decorations, gifts, cookies and more, but don’t let it stress you out. Take some time in the next couple of weeks to create your 2021 Holiday Game Plan. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Set A Limit
Before doing any shopping, create a budget. If you have multiple people you’re shopping for, decide how much money you want to spend on each person and stick to that budget. If that means physically writing it down or typing it out, there are countless, free templates to choose from.
Don’t sleep on homemade gifts! They’re my favorite gift because they’re so personal and mean more to me. A homemade gift means that person took extra time to think about what I would like, then made it from scratch rather than buy it.
Take Advice From The Guy With The Beard
Before spending any money, take a minute to make a list: how many people are you buying for? How much money do you have to spend? Do you know what you want to buy?
Doing a little planning can go a long way when it comes to holiday shopping. And if your list is getting bigger, allocate funds for each person.
Look For Deals
Let’s be honest, Black Friday lasts for 2 months now. The deals on the busiest night of the year aren’t much different than what they are a week before. Skip the crowd and continuously look for deals!
If that means starting your shopping in July, then so be it.
Keep Track of Your Purchases
There’s nothing more annoying than thinking you finished all your shopping, then realizing you went a bit overboard for someone on your list. As soon as you buy your first Holiday gift, write it down. Keeping track now will save headaches later.
Research Before You Buy
Before making any big purchases, make sure you’re getting the best price. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken three minutes to price check an item only to see it cheaper somewhere else. If it’s the same product, why wouldn’t you want the best price for it?
Set Aside Money Each Paycheck
OK this tip is more for next Holiday season. Starting January 2022, put as much money as you can into a separate checking account each time you get paid. This way, you’ll have a nice chunk of money to dedicate to Holiday shopping.
It’s so easy to overspend when you don’t have a separate checking account specifically for gift money.
Credit and Debit Cards are the villain of Holiday shopping. Swiping a card makes it easier to lose track of how much money you’ve spent. Buying all your gifts with the cash you’ve saved for Holiday shopping will help you avoid overspending.
If you’re uncomfortable carrying a lot of cash with you, write down every purchase you make with your card. I know it sounds a bit dramatic but trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
Who doesn’t like a plate of Holiday cookies? If you realize your gift list is getting longer and longer and people are getting harder to buy for, consider putting together a box of baked goods. Peppermint bark, fudge, cookies, cupcakes, the list goes on! Baking one or two dozen different holiday goodies means a gift for 3-4 people.
Take some extra precautions before baking. Make sure you know your giftees’ food allergies.
Do It All At Once
Spreading out your Holiday shopping can cause you to forget what you’ve already bought and lead to buying too many gifts for certain people (trust me, I’ve done it before). After you’ve prepped your list, pick one or two weeks to do all your shopping.
I started doing this last year and I didn’t overspend/overbuy and I wasn’t stressing out in the weeks before the Holidays.
Lastly, start thinking about Holiday shopping earlier for next year. I know the feeling of shopping burnout in the first part of the year, but costly parts of the holiday season are things like wrapping paper, Holiday cards, bows, etc. Buying all of that while it’s on sale will give you more money to spend on gifts next year.
The Holidays can be a wonderful time if you aren’t stressing about money. Take some time to do some financial planning and, hopefully, you can actually enjoy the season.