Christmas is quickly approaching and there aren’t too many days left to find that perfect gift at the perfect price. We know all to well how life can become very chaotic with trying to juggle work and family responsibilities. This can drive many of us to last-minute Christmas shopping, which can be very costly. You are more likely to purchase on impulse when shopping a week or less before Christmas. Impulse buys can lead you into a financial crisis. This is why many people decide to go on a spending hiatus for the month of January. Consider these helpful tips to take with you while shopping these final days leading up to Christmas.
Seek Out Free Gifts With Purchase Items. For example, most cologne/perfume purchases made at department stores during the holiday season will throw in a free gift, such as a tote bag or fragrance set. This gives you two gifts for the price of one. Use the free gift to give to another family member or even your child’s school teacher to help you stay within your Christmas budget.
Pay Cash. Keep your credit cards at home to help avoid overspending. Companies purposely configure and display their merchandise in a way that will cause most people to get sucked into buying more. Keep in mind, most impulse buys are made while standing in line waiting to pay for your purchases. Always remain focused and keep as much money as you can in your pocket!
“DIY” Gifts. Using your creativity and hand-make your gift is a great way to save yourself some extra cash. Try baking your favorite cake or making a fun jewelry piece. (Other ideas available here.) If you are not the most creative person, consider turning to YouTube to find tutorials that will give you step-by-step instructions on making your ideal gift.
Consider Restaurant Gift Cards. Many restaurants have special promotions on their gift card purchases this time of year. This is where you could purchase a $25 or $50 gift card for example, and the restaurant will give you an additional $15 gift card for FREE! We suggest that you give the “free” gift card as a stocking stuffer or use it yourself the next time you dine at that restaurant. Many movie theaters have these same promotions too!
Don’t forget to give gift receipts to your gift recipients when possible. This will make exchanging less difficult and will also keep the value of the price you paid despite future sales. In addition, be sure to keep your purchase receipts. You may find yourself with gifts left over that you never gave away. Don’t let the items stay in your home to collect dust. Either gift it for another special occasion or take it back to the store in exchange for something useful. While we’re on the topic, make sure you know the store’s return policy. Stores that typically don’t allow refunds will usually have a period of time that they will allow for returns and exchanges during the holiday season.
You can exhale because it won’t be long before presents are being unwrapped with holiday cheer in the air. In the meantime, don’t allow last-minute Christmas shopping to turn your finances into a debt nightmare. Maintain a budget to keep you focused on the real reason for the season. Are you a last-minute shopper? If so, do you have any strategic money-saving tips that help keep you focused on your Christmas budget?
Tai and Tarin Perry, the Double Saving Divas, are financially savvy identical twin sisters, and investment bankers turned money saving experts at . You can also connect with them on their Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube Channel.
Join us on Facebook this Wednesday at 3pm for a Facebook chat with the Double Saving Divas. We’ll cover everything from holiday shopping to overall budgeting.