The season for non-stopping shop is on its way! For some people, the holidays are a great time to spoil loved ones. However, all that shopping can cause a strain on our bank accounts.

The average consumer is expected to spend $1,047.83 this holiday season. That’s a 4% increase from last year.

Instead of overspending, make a plan this year. With these nine Christmas shopping tips, you can still spoil your loved ones while maintaining your budget. Ready to shop into the holiday season?

Here are the nine tips you need for smarter holiday spending.

1. Make a List (Check it Twice)

To start, take a hint from old Saint Nick!

Write down a list of the people you’re buying gifts for this year. Then, brainstorm a few gift ideas for each person on your list.

From there, start trimming it down. Head online to determine the average price for each gift. These prices can help you narrow down the list.

Instead of buying everything on your list, consider your budget.

In some cases, it’s easier to cut out the most expensive items on the list. Instead of one expensive gift, go for a few smaller ones.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list (and checked it twice), calculate how much the items would cost altogether. Are you over-budget?

Drafting a list before you start shopping can help you avoid overspending.

2. Set a Limit

Determine how much you want to spend, in all, this holiday.

Then, divide it up by the people on your list.

In some cases, you won’t spend the same amount on every person. For example, you’ll probably spend more on a spouse than on a niece or nephew.

Calculating your Christmas shopping budget this way can help you strategize before you start spending.

3. Keep it All Cash

Once you’ve determined your budget, stick to it! The best way to shop for Christmas on a budget is to use cash instead of cards. This way, you can see the cash physically disappear as you spend.

Take your overall budget, then divide it based on your per-person budget in the above step. Put money in an envelope for each person.

This tactic can help you stick to your Christmas shopping budget.

4. Shop Alone

Friends with poor spending habits or children who request impulse buys can ruin your plans. After all, it’s easy for someone else to spend your money.

Instead, shop alone. Remember your plan and stick to it!

5. Focus on the Season of Giving

Remember, it’s the season of giving. To stick to your Christmas shopping on a budget plan, don’t shop for yourself. That means avoiding Amazon splurging, too.

Keep to your list and buy for the people in your life.

If you see something you like, add it to your wishlist for later.

6. Sleigh the Discounts

61% of holiday shoppers are planning to wait for sales before spending this holiday season.

Smart move! There are a number of ways you can use discounts to complete your Christmas shopping on a budget.

For example, check discount stores such as Marshalls, Costco, or Kohls. If you’re shopping online, remember Amazon doesn’t always have the best price. Instead, make sure to check for the best deals online before you make a purchase.

Keep an eye out for email subscriptions and other ways to save using discounts, too.

7. Compare This Christmas

Not every store offers the same price for the same gift. Before making a purchase, comparison shop. You might find your favorite retailer marks up their prices as a result.

Comparison shopping can help you find deals in places you might not have looked otherwise.

8. Wrap ’em Up

Once you’ve completed your shopping, start wrapping. Instead of wrapping your presents in one package, however, break them up. Wrapping each item individually will give your loved ones more to unwrap.

That way, you don’t have to overspend on numerous items.

Feel free to wrap individual socks for a little extra fun!

This will make it look like there are more presents under the tree. If you’re creative with it, this can also make for a fun memory.

9. Don’t Rush It

Whether you’re shopping online or in stores, don’t check out right away.

Online retailers want to close the deal and get you to spend. Some will send you a discount to get you to finally make that purchase. That’s why it’s a smart idea to let your online shopping cart stay full a little while.

Once you determine what you need, fill up your cart. Make sure you’re registered with that retailer and logged into the account. This will ensure they have your email address.

Then, close the window without completing your purchase.

This will tell the retailer you’re thinking of buying but on the fence. In order to close the detail, they’ll send you an email reminding you there are items still left in your cart.

Some online stores will send you a promo code, discount, or another incentive (like free shipping) to convince you to shop online.

If you’re shopping in stores, on the other hand, head into an aisle before making your way to check out. Review the items you have in your cart. Is there anything you can swap out for a cheaper alternative?

This is also a good time to review the cash you have in hand. Based on what’s in your cart, will you end up going over your budget?

Rushing to checkout (online or in stores) can lead you to make unnecessary purchases. By taking the time to think things through, you can complete your Christmas shopping without overspending.

Ho, Ho, Hold Off Overspending: Christmas Shopping on a Budget

Make that list and check it twice! With these nine tips, you can complete your Christmas shopping on a budget and avoid overspending. Instead of stressing out this holiday, have fun with it!

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