During the unofficial celebration between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Black Friday, had record breaking sales. There were 89 million consumers who either patronized bricks and mortars or shopped online. In total, the bargain hunters spent $59.1 billion up from $52.4 billion spent in 2011.
If you weren’t standing in line before midnight or browsing the web during and after Thanksgiving, you’re one of the few consumers who are engaging in last minute holiday shopping. Before stressing yourself out about the perfect gift and spending all the money in your account on the first item you see, take the time to implement the following tips.
1. Create a list and stick with it.
Who says that it’s required to purchase a gift for everyone you know? Create your own ‘nice and naughty’ list. Write down the names of the persons you feel are deserving of a gift. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of your pocketbook. Although you want to make sure everyone has a jolly holiday, you simply can’t afford it.
2. Stick with a budget
If you don’t know how much money you have, you will spend more than your bank account will allow. After writing the names of individuals who will receive gifts, add how much you can afford to spend on each person. The great news is that an accumulation of small gifts in a basket can go a long way.
3. Compare online prices to have options
In addition to writing the names of everyone you are buying gifts for, you should have an idea what you want to purchase. So that you aren’t beat, schedule a date for a shopping spree. Before you head out the door, take the time to browse the internet for online prices. This will give you an idea how much an item cost.
4. Carry cash and leave the plastic at home
When consumers carry cash while shopping, it holds them accountable. In this case, you can only spend money you have in your possession. Carrying cash would be ideal for the envelope system. Write the names of each person you are shopping for on an individual envelope and insert the amount you have budget to spend on the person. Once you reach the max (an empty envelope), your shopping excursion is complete.
5. Don’t feel overwhelmed
Too often consumers are devastated if they aren’t able to purchase a gift for someone. If you can’t afford to buy an item, be creative. You can donate your time by creating a gift or donate your skills in exchange for a coupon for your services. The value of a gift is not related to the monetary rate, the value is in thought of giving.
Although you’re running out of time to shop for the holidays, you still have time to plan a budget, create a list, and make prudent decisions about your money.
Happy shopping and spend wisely!