I've already finished all of my Christmas shopping. Yep, I'm one of those annoying types that likes to get things done early! Besides, I only have a handful of people to buy for, so it really doesn't take that long.
I did take advantage of some killer sales both online and in the stores, and ended up getting a lot of things at really good prices. But the problem is: I was so proud of all the money that I saved that I ended up looking for even more deals and then I bought way more gifts than I needed. Not good!
Whether you're a bargain-hunter like me, or you dread shopping, when it comes to holiday shopping it's always good to have a plan and stick to it! So I put together a list of (very obvious) tips to avoid overspending---they are worth repeating!
Don't wait until the last minute!
Take the time to check ads to find the best price.
Sign up for store reward cards and e-mail offers.
If your grocery store offers extra "cents off" gallons of gas when you buy gift cards, buy some for stores that you know you will be shopping at to get the extra savings.
Make a list and stick to it.
Ask your family to draw names, rather than buying for everyone.
Consider homemade gifts, or giving your time/services.
Skip buying gifts for people you are not particularly close to, although a heartfelt note or some fresh-baked cookies might be appreciated.
For those of you with children, consider the Rule of 4: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.
Visualize what your credit card will look like in January
Now might be a good time to set up a holiday "Christmas Club" account at your bank or credit union for next year. And there's no shame in buying some Christmas-themed items at the end of the season to use for next year: holiday towels, cookie platters, cards, etc.