5 Christmas shopping tips to keep you from spending too much
Christmas shopping season is officially open.
The last weekend of November has become our official beginning to the “shop to our hearts desires for all whom deserve it” season! But are you prepared?
Here are some tips to keep you organized and hopefully stop you from over spending.
1) choose an amount you want or can spend
Sounds easy!- If you have been putting away a little bit of every paycheque all year. Some real Christmas gift giving fanatics have a lot to spend because they were prepared to do so when Christmas shopping season opened.
If you are like most, then Christmas is a thought that simply can’t be thought of until at least November. So the time comes and the stores are fully stocked, and you should know how much you can spend before you start buying.
To keep it simple- pick an amount you can easily pay back within two months. Christmas debt should not enter Spring!
2) check your list…and then check it twice
So you have a round dollar figure you are comfortable with spending this year. Now, who should you buy for is the real question?
Well you may have your own naughty and nice list, but ultimately you need a solid list of people you want to buy gifts for.
Once you make your list, take that number of people and simply divide that into that dollar amount you are allotting for gifts. This is what you plan to spend on per person this year.
Is that number looking like you are not giving enough?
Well this is when you check your list twice.
Look over and see who really need to buy a gift for. This will also give you the realization that you should spend a little more for certain people. You may want to organize how much each person or group of people should receive from your total. For example your significant other may deserve something a little nicer then the UPS delivery agent at work 🙂
3) the time to buy is now, so start now!
You are armed with a list and a dollar amount, so start shopping!…but really start right now!!
This weekend is “Black Friday” weekend. Take advantage of the sales. The fact is retailers are in high competition mode. They are not only competing with just each other, but with their American counterparts. With our Canadian dollar at/or near par, and the price drop just over that border, it is obvious why cross-border shopping is so popular this time of year. I advocate to shop local, and I have no doubt you can find that $60 sweater for you sister on that $30 budget at your local mall.
Sounds good right? The catch is to start early. The longer you wait, simply the odds are you will get desperate and spend beyond what you can afford. You don’t necessarily have to start scouring through the malls every night. Look online, call ahead to have it put on hold for you, and simply pick it up.
4) when you’re done, you’re done!
So you came and you conquered. Everyone on your list is checked off. You are done!
Good, now don’t go back and get more. Last minute gifts are sometimes unavoidable, but even so, try not to deviate away from you list. If they didn’t make the list the first time around then were they ever meant to receive a gift from you? If you give in, then keep it simple and maybe out of the mall. A box of chocolates and well worded card sends the same message.
5) keep your receipts
The “receipt” has been used since 1892, and for good reason- it acts as your contract. Your proof of purchase with that retailer about the gift that just isn’t suiting your giving needs any longer, is your only leverage. With it, you can return your purchase and get the exact amount of money back that you spent. I stress that because often stores will return an item with no receipt for only exchange purposes, and will often offer you the last sale price. So, you lose control over your rights of your purchase. Even better though, the receipt also allows you to demand the difference between any sale price and your purchase price (within reason).
So Dad’s slippers that sing jingle bells that you thought were genius two days ago and you spent $24.99, are now $9.99. If you realized that Dad is going to get pretty annoyed with those and you want to return them without a receipt then you just lost $15. If you have your receipt then your two day investment is still worth what you paid. Better yet, if you think Dad is still going to love them, then demand the lower price! You just bought them, and if you would have known they were going on sale, you would have waited and spent less. Most retailers would agree with you, and wouldn’t have a problem giving you back the difference.
Good luck and drive safe
written by Roberto Pelaccia