With the Holiday season here, you’d better plan your shopping to avoid racking up burdensome credit card debt. Unless you want to be paying off holiday purchases through 2019 and beyond, you must employ diligent budgeting and savvy shopping to sidestep credit card debt.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Establish your budget.
How much money do you really have to spend on gifts? Whether you have $100, $500, $1,000 or more, know what you can actually afford and still manage to cover your usual bills. Don’t cheat and dig into specially designated savings accounts or emergency funds, as this will typically hurt you in the long run. Once you know your number, you can start drafting your shopping list.
Make a list of everyone who will receive a gift.
It may be long, or it may be short. If your budget is lower, limit your list to close friends and family.
Here’s an idea: Open an Excel spreadsheet. Make one column for names, one column for gift items, one column for item vendors, and one column for gift prices. You can adjust the last three columns while shopping around. Calculate the total sum of the price column, and make gift adjustments if the sum exceeds your budget. This method will help you account for your loved ones and keep track of stores with the lowest prices.
Be prepared to make sacrifices.
Even if your budget feels a bit stifling, don’t exceed it. An essential part of budgeting is making sacrifices. Sticking to a reasonable budget pays off in the long run by preserving your finances.
Stay Out of Debt This Holiday Season
Be realistic about your budget, and be responsible. You might not be able to purchase new phones for everyone on your gift list, but no holiday season is worth going into credit card debt over. The holiday season is temporary, but debt can drag on for years.