You know what it’s like to buy holiday gifts. You start the process with the best intentions — buying the right gifts without overspending — but soon enough you find yourself off track. You’re buying gifts for people who generally aren’t on your list. And worse yet, you’re overspending on more people than ever before.
There’s no denying the fact that it feels good to purchase gifts for friends, family, and others, but you must always do so with your budget in mind. Your joy will soon turn to sorrow when you realize that you’ve overspent and now need to deal with the aftermath.
With all this in mind, here are three things you can do to set a holiday gift buying budget that works for you and your finances as a whole.
1. Make your list
This list should include everyone you are buying gifts for this year. Family and friends will be at the top, but you must also consider co-workers, service providers, and anyone else that you typically buy for.
Without a list, you’ll find yourself scrambling to stay on track. Not to mention the fact that you could unintentionally purchase too many gifts for a single person.
2. Review last year’s budget
A review of last year’s holiday spending budget (and results) gives you an idea of what you’re up against this year. For example, if you spent $1,000 on gifts last year and your list is the same this year, you can reasonably expect to spend in the same range.
Of course, if you know that you overspent last year, don’t use that number to guide you over the months to come.
3. Track your spending
This is where many people make a mistake. They know who they’re buying for. They know how much they want to spend on each person. However, they don’t track their spending. This is risky as there’s no way of knowing if you’re overspending (or even underspending). Carefully track every dollar you spend on holiday gifts. You won’t regret this decision.
These aren’t the only gift buying tips to follow this holiday season, but they should definitely be on your radar. When you take these into consideration, you improve the likelihood of staying within your budget.
Would you add any other tips to the three above? What’s your secret for sticking to your holiday gift buying budget?