With Christmas just around the corner, planning for the shopping you will be doing is essential. Whatever you do, don’t go out on a whim and just buy the first thing you think your loved one might like. You should sit down before you buy anything and plan ahead so that you don’t go overboard and get yourself in a bad financial situation.


Some things that you should think about during this holiday season in advance of making any purchases:


  • Budget – Just like your everyday expenses, Christmas shopping should be budgeted. Look at your finances and decide how much you can comfortably spend total. Then make a list of all your family and friends you plan on giving a gift to and decide how much of the total should be spent on each. Don’t feel guilty about it either. If you can’t spend as much as you have in the past or as much as you know people are spending on you, don’t feel bad about it. Chances are your loved one will understand and you won’t have to be dealing with the headache of the December credit card bill when your guilt leads you to spend more than you can afford.


  • Look For Deals – This one sounds pretty simple, but it can require a lot of leg work. If you have your heart set on buying something specific for someone, especially if it’s a costly item, look around at as many different places as you can to find the best deal. You can do this by actually shopping around at different stores, or looking online. However, if you are shopping online for a great deal, don’t wait too long. A great deal won’t do you any good if it’s two days before Christmas and you have to pay more than you saved on shipping!


  • Homemade Gifts – This can be tricky. There are those people who would love to receive a homemade gift and others who would hate it. You’ll have to use your judgment on who to give a homemade gift to. But they can save you a lot of money (though usually take up more time). They can also be great if you receive an unexpected gift from someone. If you have some homemade gifts made up, you can reciprocate without spending a lot of money you didn’t plan for.


  • Reassess – After making a purchase, check it against your budget. Have you bought enough for someone? Do you need to find something for $15 to have enough for someone else? If you reassess after each shopping trip, you are more likely to stay on track and on budget.


  • Buy With Cash – The number one thing we would caution against is using credit cards. It’s much easier to lose track of how much you spend with a credit card. So, if you have the cash available (which hopefully you should since you are budgeting only what you can comfortably afford), use it instead of your credit cards.


Christmas shopping shouldn’t be stressful and you shouldn’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay for it all. That way, you can truly enjoy giving those gifts on Christmas.