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Tips for Christmas Shopping on a Budget

Cheryl Mascarenhas
Christmas is a time for giving, which means it is a time for splurging. Here are some useful tips for Christmas shopping on a budget, which will help curtail the total expenditure.
This Christmas, why don't you grab some colored paper, glue and a few ribbons, plus icing sugar and cookie mix, and put aside a day to make decorations and biscuits as presents. Your children will love it, your house will look and smell gorgeous and there's nothing like homemade gifts to make someone feel special!
Christmas is a time to celebrate the good that we see around us, and it is also a time when families spend hoards on gifts and other essential goods.
This just means that the expenditure hits an all-time high, which is sure to leave you cribbing at the end of the holiday season. This time around, you better start early to save yourself the burden of last-minute purchases that not only eat up into your wallet, but also your peace of mind.
You can also resort to some DIY decorations, eco-friendly gift options, or even ban gifts altogether. Downsize your expenditure by gifting something that is more precious like your time. Among the things you can do to save your self from going broke after the holiday season, here are just a few ways to make it through in a decent amount of money too.

Set Your Budget

Start with fixing your budget. Sit down with your family and chalk out the expenses. List out the things that are a complete must-have and those that can be catered to at a later point of time.
Set aside a particular amount after you have sorted out your monthly budget, and ensure you do not eat away from the funds that will help you get through the month's expenditure. You could even start planning a couple of months in advance so that you save a fixed amount and put it together for Christmas.

Make a List

Even Santa makes a list and checks it twice, then why don't you try the same? Ensure you have a list ready well in advance, to help you decide the amount you need to spend this Christmas.
When you go out shopping, ensure you carry the list along so you do not end up buying too many things for your loved ones. Also, remember to make a list of the essential things you will need for Christmas so that you are not led astray with the sales and offers in the stores.

Limit Your Purchases

We know it is impossible to partake in the season of giving without actually giving anything yourself, which is why it is essential you put a little thought into the gifts. Having said that, it is a must for you to make a list and stick to it.
Do not by any chance allow yourself to be wooed by the offers in stores. Limit your purchases to the essentials, and do not go overboard while shopping for gifts.

The Sale Advantage

Sales is the word. Shop during sales to make the most of the discounted prices. Off-season sales are your best bet.
Let's say, you could shop for Christmas right after it is over. This will ensure you get the lowest of prices and the best of goods all in one go. You can still give away favors and gifts when you are on a tight budget if you have been wise enough to shop for items all through the year.

Start Early

Drill it into your system to begin early. Do not keep shopping for the last minute or else you will end up picking stuff that's way costlier than you had imagined.
To make it easier on your pocket, start picking things that could be presented as gifts during the holiday season well in advance. Which means, you could be shopping for snippets all through the year to avoid a last-minute rush. Remember, there is no harm in stocking up for Christmas beforehand.

Think Creative

It's not about the gift that matters, but the thought that goes into making it special. Invest your time in creating something that your loved ones will be proud to own. For instance, you could very well convert old cards into a new one with a little bit of creativity on your part. Look around at garage sales for stuff that you could make use of.

Ditch Cards, Use Cash

Using cash instead of your credit card to make purchases is highly beneficial. It not only limits the amount you spend, but also makes you think twice before making an impulsive purchase.
For a change, go shopping with just your budget amount in hand. You will surely end up putting a thought into the things you purchase.

Opt for Gift Cards

Why not give away gift cards this year? With gift cards, you have the advantage of putting in a fixed amount for a particular individual.
In short, it is economical, helps you stay within your budget, and allows your loved ones to purchase the gift of their choice. With no one complaining, it is definitely an option to consider for a budgeted Christmas.