6 Tips To Avoid Common Holiday Shopping Mistakes
According to a Statista forecast, Christmas spending in three leading European countries alone is expected to reach about 223 billion GBP this year, with the UK being first, Germany second, and France third.
There are several reasons why it may be tempting to overspend. For example, you just started your first real job this year and you’d like to treat yourself and your loved ones with special gifts bought on the money you’ve managed to save. This is understandable, as you’ve finally reached financial independence with your monthly paycheck and want to thank everyone who helped you along the way.
Excessive shopping can also be a coping mechanism for those who have spent the two lonely pandemic years away from family and trying to compensate for love and attention with tons of gifts. However, whatever the reason, blowing your budget and entering the new year with empty pockets is not the best idea.
For this reason, we’ve made a holiday survival guide to help you avoid typical shopping blunders and overspending. We also recommend reading our article about money-saving tips where you can find some good advice.
Determine your budget
Overspending is mainly due to not setting limits. Here are several steps you can take to avoid that this holiday season:
- List everything you want or need to buy and how much money you’ll be able to spend for each item without cutting through your wallet or credit card.
- Don’t forget about all the extra spendings, small and big, like holiday cards, travel expenses, or even Secret Santa gifts for your co-workers.
- Add up all your estimated costs and there you have it, your total holiday spending budget.
Though it’s easier in theory than in practice, it’s important to stick to your budget no matter what attractive items on sale you might stumble upon. Bottom line, once you’ve bought everything you need, it’s time to leave the store.
Don’t overuse credit
A common mistake made by holiday shoppers is buying everything with their credit cards. This mishap can end up with you paying back those, at times unnecessary, purchases for several months.
Since you can’t keep precise track of how much you’re spending, which would be the case with cash, paying with a credit card can put you in a sticky situation. Therefore, using a debit or a prepaid card to buy holiday gifts is always a better choice, and if you still don’t have one, it might be the right time to do so.
For instance, Satchel offers prepaid Mastercard payment cards with no-hidden fees and the 3D Secure feature to ensure the safety of your online purchases. This is definitely a smart tool for holiday shopping that you might consider gifting yourself.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Rushing to buy everyone gifts the day before the big family reunion can ultimately backfire. As you run to scavenge the last few items left on the shelves, you might end up paying more than planned. Plus, putting some thought into a gift becomes really complicated under those circumstances. Avoid this by planning your list and shopping ahead of time.
Choose sentiment over price
The best gift is not necessarily the most expensive one. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your loved ones measure the level of your affection or commitment by the price tag on your Christmas gift to them. Making small yet thoughtful gifts will not only help you stay on budget but also guarantee a pleasant reaction from the people who will be receiving them.
Create a gift-receiver list
Forgetting to give someone a gift can be devastating. Therefore, when the time comes, make a list of everyone you’d like to make a present to, and once you’ve bought it, cross off their name. It’s a piece of cake and will take no longer than 10 minutes of your time.
Try shopping online instead
Running to the mall is so 2019. Leave that behind and choose online shopping this year. Among the benefits are absence of crowds, better time management and better guarantee to find exactly what you’re looking for in the right shape and color and at the right price. Plus, it’s much simpler and convenient to shop for gifts from the comfort of your home.
Shop smart this holiday season
By following these six simple tips you can be sure that your holiday spendings will not devastate your wallet and your friends and family will appreciate every minute you spent to choose the perfect gift.