Friday, November 19, 2010

Best tips for last minute Christmas shopping

It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Shopping centres a decorated, Santa is around to take photos with the children, shops are playing carols and more…

I do think it is a little early to have all of that. I’d prefer they started at the beginning of December. But hey, it is not about the real meaning of Christmas, it is all about money. Oh, sorry about that, my cynicism is starting to show.

Here are a few tips to help you with your Christmas shopping if you are a little unprepared.

Make a list

First first thing to do is to determine how much you can realistically spend on your Christmas shopping overall. Be realistic.

Once you have done that then list all of the names of family and friends to whom you will give presents to and assign an amount to each person. This bit can be a bit of fun…

When you finish with the list make sure you are not overspending. Adjust the list until you are happy with it and within budget.

Do not go over budget

Don’t let your emotions run over you. If you are following your budget you cannot let your emotions run over you. I know this does not sound very nice but it is a fact.

Overspending will break your budget, get you into credit card debt, if you are using your credit card, and create a precedent. Your friends and family will expect expensive gifts from you every time.

Pay it all with cash

One way to increase your chances of following your budget is to carry only cash with you. Don’t go shopping with your credit cards, leave all of your cards at home.

Every time you go shopping  know which presents you are buying, know how much you are going to spend and take the exact cash you need.

This way you will follow your budget and you will not regret it later on.

Shop by yourself

There is research that indicates that people who shop alone have a tendency to spend less. Needless to say, go shopping alone.

Your family or friends will distract you and potentially influence you to buy something that is not in your budget.

Don’t buy presents for yourself

When you go to the shops you will certainly see stuff that you like. Don’t fall into the temptation of spending your money on the things you want. If you family and friends ask what you want for Christmas, get them to buy the things for you. Al so remind yourself that this is the season for giving, not getting.

Be creative

If you are really low in cash, or just want to do something different, search on the internet about do it yourself Christmas gifts. This will cost you only a fraction of what you would spend on the shops and, to me anyway, are much more valuable than just stuff from the shops.

Gifts you make will have your own personal touch and you can make them to suit to person receiving the gift. There is no shame in that!

I think that the main idea is for you to enjoy the season and bring a smile on the faces of the ones you love. This does not need to come from expensive gifts. Something you make to suit the person will have a much more long lasting impression than something that will be used a couple of times and thrown away.

Don’t make Christmas shopping a torture, don’t break the bank and make it part of a wonderful festive season.

Have a great time!

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