The holidays are indeed a joyous time of year, but let’s face it – they’re also very expensive. Between parties, family gatherings and holiday shopping, the cost can be overwhelming. For seniors, who may be retired and on a fixed income, the holiday season can be very financially stressful. Here are some shopping tips to help you reduce spending and make the holidays more enjoyable.
Draft a Budget
Sit down with your loved ones and discuss how much you can realistically afford to put towards holidays costs this year. Take into account any potential costs you may have outside of the holidays while planning your budget.
Devise a Shopping List
Before heading out the door for the nearest mall, make a list of who you want to buy for and include ideas of what you’d like to give each person. Having a list and sticking to it will ensure you don’t stray and wind up spending more money.
Start Buying Early
If your holiday list is extensive, try hitting the malls as early as September. Buying a few things here and there is certainly more budget-friendly than trying to cram lots of gifts into one small period.
Try Secret Santa
Perhaps you have 20 grandchildren and you want to buy special gifts for each one of them, including your own children and siblings. Realistically, this is probably not in your budget. A Secret Santa exchange, where family members pick names out of a hat to determine who they will buy for, will help you keep on track. Instead of buying for 20 people or more, you can narrow it down to just a few. It’s a fun exercise that involves the whole family.
Be a Bargain-Hunter
If you were patient enough to brave Black Friday sales, still shopping after the American Thanksgiving holiday may be your best bet at finding good deals for the holidays. Comb the Internet or newspapers for the best deals and make a fun day of it. You don’t even have to cross the border to take advantage of the sales. Canada had a number of Black Friday sales, too. Some are still on. If you’re Internet savvy and want to avoid the crowds, try some online shopping instead.
Bake Your Way into Their Hearts
If you possess a special talent for baking, try making up your own holiday goodie baskets. Buying the ingredients in bulk will save you money, and your loved ones will enjoy getting homemade and personalized treats from you. Check out some easy holiday baking recipes.
The holidays are stressful enough, so why add financial stress on to it? Following these tips will help you plan a budget and stay on track during this busy time of year.