The holidays may still seem odd to some of us this year, but one thing hasn’t changed: purchasing wisely for the holidays will save you from having financial regrets in January.
Here are nine pointers and five more tricks to make you an expert shopper as your assistance. This may be more useful if your wish list is lengthy.
1. Make a gift-giving strategy.
If you reject the notion of a budget, create a plan for your gift-giving instead. Make a list of the people you want to buy gifts for, along with their budgets and any present suggestions you may have. You can keep track of your expenditures using this straightforward “who, what, and how much” approach.
2. Classify your presents
Sorting your wish list into the following three categories is an excellent place to start:
- The Big Somethings: These are the more substantial or sentimental presents you give to those in your inner circle, such as close friends and relatives.
- The Little Somethings: Presents for those who may not be in your inner circle but are unquestionably a part of your community, including the teachers and babysitters of your children, mail carriers, neighbors, coworkers, and other service providers. Cash tips are a wise choice in many of these circumstances.
- The DIY/Handmade Somethings: You can offer folks in the aforementioned groups or anyone with whom you might have a more casual relationship cookies, crafts, and other homemade presents from the heart.
3. Make a calendar for your “cash savings”
There are many possibilities to purchase items on sale during the holidays. Match gifts with sales from your list from above to get the most for your money. Websites that track sales, such as those for Black Friday, are a great place to start. Look for discounts at nearby stores in your “junk mail” and on social media as well.
4. Make judicious use of your credit card points.
Many credit cards allow you to utilize accumulated points to purchase goods, frequently from favored merchants. It’s possible that the credit card corporation has its own online store. Others offer first access to popular things that can be in low supply. Make sure you are not wasting points that could be used in other ways. You are sacrificing points, for instance, if your points are worth 1.5x when used for travel but only 1 point when used for shopping. Your points can be worth, for example, $300 in goods but $450 in travel.
5. Stay away from “buy now, pay later” deals.
This is the same as charging more on your credit card, whether the offer is a layaway program or one of the new payment plans called Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). Do your best to only purchase items that you can afford to pay for either immediately or in January. Interest rates on payment plans might reach 15%. Even programs that advertise no costs or interest have fine print and may end up becoming debt traps. They might impose high penalties and back interest if you miss even one payment.
6. Take fast action to prevent shortages
Due to the epidemic and supply chain delays, many popular items could be in short supply this year. Don’t think twice if you see anything you desire at a decent price. You can always decide later you don’t want the item if you purchase from a company with a good return policy, which is particularly true.
7. Maintain your receipts.
Returns and exchanges happen frequently. Having your receipts on hand will simplify the procedure and prevent “store credit only” returns. Additionally, it’s a wonderful method to make one last calculation of your expenses and performance relative to your gift-giving strategy.
8. Give a little to yourself.
If you did something significant this year, treat yourself to a small present while you’re thinking about others. Put some money away to say “Thank you, self,” whether you made a budget, paid off debt, started a retirement plan, or did anything else. You are really great.
9. Additional ways to give include giving back.
There are two ways to support your neighborhood. Shopping locally, first, keeps your money in your neighborhood. The pandemic has been difficult for many neighborhood businesses. Second, remember the causes and organizations close to your heart. Many of them are having trouble paying their bills and have had to postpone numerous fundraising activities.
10. Five more tips
- By purchasing gift cards in the amounts you want to spend, you can set a strict spending limit and stay inside your budget.
- Check at least two stores and internet sources by shopping around. Remember to use browser add-ons like Honey, which can help you find deals, coupons, and the best prices.
- Do a fast Google search to look for coupon codes, promo coupons, and shipping codes. You might just find a few extra dollars if you set aside a few minutes for important purchases.
- Look for price matching and price promises.
- The 24-hour shopping cart rule should be followed. You should keep an item in your online shopping cart for 24 hours if you aren’t certain sure you want to buy it. You’ll be compelled to pause before selecting “continue to checkout.”