“I have too much money,” said no one ever in the months of November and December. The Holiday Season is just around the corner, the anxiety is building, the shopping lists are getting longer… and the budget is starting to feel a little tight.
Now some of us plan early, hunt for deals, and genuinely enjoy shopping. Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with that gift. The good news is that planning these purchases ahead of time is a habit that can be learned.
Planning ahead not only will reduce holiday shopping anxiety, but will also save you money. Our advice? Make your holiday list NOW and start shopping. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Make that list and stick to it. Try to avoid impulse purchases. Remember stores are trying to sell and make everything purposefully enticing. We know those Christmas socks are so cute and they would be great to throw in with Aunt Betty’s gift, but trust that what you’ve already gotten her off the list will be more than enough. Remember, this season of giving is about quality over quantity. Planning out meaningful gifts and sticking to that list is sure to bring a smile to your loved ones and a sigh of relief to your bank account.
- Buying in bulk can save you money, sometimes. Buying in bulk usually seems like a better deal than it really is, especially if you don’t really need that much product. Do the math on how much the product costs per unit compared to a normal sized package. It may only be a few cents less per unit and not really be worth spending the extra to get so much extra. If it is a really good deal but you still don’t think you need that much, share with a friend. Shopping in a pair can be really helpful, especially if you can split deals. Sharing is caring after all!
- Buying now will ensure availability. There are a lot of factors that can affect shipping times, especially during the holiday season! Not only that, but popular items can also sell out quickly. That toy your niece or nephew has to have is no different. The quicker you can hash out exactly what you’re getting for everyone, the sooner you can get those orders in or get things off the shelves. If you wait too long, you might end up spending more than you budgeted on shipping or on last-minute gifts.
- Watch for sales. If you start watching ads now you have a better chance of picking up those holiday ingredients or presents on sale! Search for coupons, look through shopping guides, and follow the store’s social media accounts for exclusive offers. If you’re shopping online, there are browser extensions you can install like Honey that will automatically scan your cart at checkout for coupons. Even if you save a few dollars here and there, it will add up in the end and help you stay on top of your budget.
November and December are filled with expenses from gift buying to additional entertainment, help yourself out by planning your holiday budget now. When the holidays come you will be able to enjoy friends and family more knowing that you are prepared.
May your holidays be merry and stress-free!
Vice President of Ag Banking