Holiday shopping and spending mistakes can cost you more than you realize. Even common money mistakes can add up quickly and holiday shopping mistakes are no exception. It can be tempting to go a crazy the first Christmas after you get your first real job. You are making a real salary, and you feel that you want to say thanks to those who have helped you while you struggled through college and internships. Christmas savings strategies can help you save money, while still saying thanks, but avoid the most common holiday shopping mistakes.
1. Don't Break Your Budget
Before you buy a single Christmas present you should determine how much you have to spend on the holiday season. Many people forget to add in Christmas cards, office parties, white elephant gifts, and travel expenses. If you are planning a party you should add this into your list as well. You should make a list of which you want to buy for and the amount you plan to spend on the gifts. As you spend the money subtract it from your total, this will help you stick to your holiday budget. When you have used up all of your holiday money, then you need to stop spending.
2. Don't Use Credit
One common holiday shopping mistake is to put everything on the credit card. You can end up paying for Christmas for several months this way. People tend to overspend more when they use credit cards as well. Use your debit card or cash to purchase your Christmas gifts. If you plan carefully you do not need to use credit to buy anything associated with the Holidays. This is one gift you ought to give yourself.
3. Don't Buy to Impress
It is tempting when you finally have some money to go out and buy extravagant gifts for everyone on your list. You may want to buy an extra nice gift for your parents or a close friend, but try not to go overboard on everyone’s gift. Most people would prefer a well-thought out gift that matches their personality and interests to something you bought simply for how much it cost you. You should be able to see when you are crossing that line.
4. Don't Forget Anyone
One common holiday shopping mistake is to forget someone on your list. Shopping with a list is essential. You do not want to forget anyone’s gift. Additionally as you make out your list you can write down gift ideas for each person. Take your list with you and consult it as you shop. Cross off each person as you find the perfect gift. Another holiday shopping mistake is to forget that you have already purchased a gift for someone. The list can help you avoid that as well.
5. Don't Forget to Shop Around
You may hate shopping, and so one holiday shopping mistake you may be tempted to make is to forgo comparison shopping. At the very least look online at two or three stores, before you go shopping. This will give you an idea of how much an item should cost you. It may save you the trouble of shopping all together, if you order everything online. Black Friday sales can save you money too, but only if you go in with a game plan and stick to your shopping list.
6. Don't Wait Until the Last Minute
The worst gifts and worst prices are a result of waiting until the last minute to do your shopping. You can begin your holiday shopping the day after Christmas, as you search for the perfect present. There is nothing worse than the feeling of dread as you try to find a decent present for your family and friends in nearly empty aisles of a store. Avoid this holiday shopping mistake by beginning to find and purchase your gifts now.
7. Don't Forget to Add Christmas to Your Budget
Many people’s biggest holiday financial mistake is to forget to spread the cost of Christmas over the entire year. You should set aside money each month to cover the cost of next Christmas. You can put the money into a Christmas savings account or simply earmark the money in your normal savings account. This allows you to purchase your Christmas gifts without all of the worry.