Are you one of those people who waits until the last second to Christmas shop? Or do you tend to just whip out your credit card and buy without thinking of your budget? Or do you buy people presents that you find in their basement storage when you visit for Easter?
If you have any of these problems, take a look at our Christmas Shopping Guide for Beginners below. Follow these gift-buying tips and you will have a merrier Christmas for years to come. And your relatives will probably enjoy your gifts a lot more.
1. Do Your Best Santa Impersonation – Write a List
Don’t take on his wardrobe. Rather, make sure you actually make a Christmas shopping list, and check it at least twice! If you don’t write a list, you buy too much stuff for one kid and too little for another. You should jot down every person for whom you need to buy gifts, and ideas for each. This way you buy equally for everyone. This is especially important in a time of economic uncertainty and tight shopping budgets.
2. Be On the Look Out for Coupons
Sites such as Groupon or Livingsocial are fantastic for Christmas bargain shoppers. You can purchase all sorts of things – dinners, spa gifts, stays at hotels, gas cards – for mere pennies per dollar. You can use these sites to receive credit for an entire $50 gift certificate when you paid just $25, in some cases. If you are buying for friends who do not live near you, sign up so you can view the daily deals near where they live.
3. Price Check Like Your Life Depends On It
Before you grab your car keys, go online and get an idea what items on your list cost. This is a very key step for those big gifts, such as a TV or MP3 player. That 42″ flat screen TV may go on sale often, but the retailer may mark it up to $1000 and ‘put it on sale’ for $500. And you may be able to find it somewhere else for $350. You will not fall for this if you know what that 42″ flat screen costs at several websites first.
4. Stick to Your Budget Like Bees on Honey
If you write up a gift list and check prices in advance, this makes it simpler to determine your gift budget. Add up the rough cost of everything 0n your list. Can you pay off this full amount in 2-3 months off your Visa? If you can’t, you should probably figure out how to trim your gift expenses this Christmas.
5. Confess You Are Low on Funds
Times are tough. If you cannot afford to spend a lot on Christmas gifts this year, confess! That is, tell your friends and family you cannot buy much this year. It’s okay. There will be other holidays. Chances are, some of your relatives will welcome the chance to save money themselves. And if someone does not like you spending less on him or her, maybe they do not deserve a gift at all!
By following these beginner’s tips for Christmas shopping, we hope that your holiday season will be merrier.