Smart holiday spending tips
Issue date: 12/4/09 Section: News
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Set up a holiday budget - Before you even begin shopping, it's important to write down who you want to buy for, and how much you plan to spend on that person. This gives you a limit on how much you're willing to spend, and helps prevent you from overspending on a whim. Remember also to keep in mind your total budget for all of your presents - how much money can you afford to spend in total? As you make your purchases, write down how much you spend in comparison to your budget so you can come up with a final holiday spending total when you're finished.
Research before you spend - It's so easy to see something you think would be a perfect gift for someone in a store, and buy it right then and there. Before you make that purchase - stop. Think about the following factors: Is this gift on sale? Can I buy it anywhere else? Does it fit into my budget? Sometimes just by looking online for store coupons you can find discounts online or in stores. Many websites are also offering free shipping along with deep discounts, so be sure to research each item before you buy it to make sure you're getting the best deal possible.
Shorten your shopping trips - Don't try to get all of your shopping done in one day (men - this means no last minute Christmas Eve shopping). Shopping all at once can make you tired and you are liable to make spending decisions that you'll regret. Researching your gifts and buying them a few at a time will help alleviate any spending problems that might arise.
Give the gift of time - As college students, it can be hard to find the money to buy everyone we love a gift. Sometimes the gift of time is better than a physical gift. Help your mom decorate the Christmas tree, go fishing with your dad, or take your little brother or sister out for the afternoon. These gifts take no money at all, and can often mean more to your loved one than any physical gift ever could.
During the holiday season it's easy to throw away your smart spending habits and rack up a lot of debt with your many purchases. But with these few tips you can make your holidays cheery and bright both when you open your presents and when you open your credit card bill.