Here are a few tips to prevent bungling your budget without being a Scrooge this season.
- Get Your Game Plan: Make a list of everyone on your nice list, and don’t hit the stores until you’ve calculated the cash you have to spend (without credit cards). Divide your budget among recipients, and identify a few gifts they would enjoy that fit within the budget before you begin your journey.
- Pack the App: Charge up the smartphone and download apps geared for grabbing the best deal. The Amazon app will ensure you’re not spending too much on an item. For Target lovers, Cartwheel by Target offers hundreds of coupons with a barcode to scan at the checkout. For those shopping local, Flipp collects weekly circulars from local grocers and retailers and turns them into digital files.
- Avoid Price Paranoia: Comparison shopping can be a drain on your time resources and mental energy. Ask your retailer if they will match a competitor’s price or special offer you’ve located. If they will not, don’t pine over spending a few extra dollars – it’s not worth it. You can trim other areas in your budget.
- Tips for Tipping: Bring good cheer to your hairstylist, babysitter, housekeeper, and others who assist you throughout the year with a holiday tip. A good rule of thumb is to tip what you would normally pay for their services. For those you don’t normally pay a wage, such as a teacher or your mail carrier, a small $10 – $25 gift is ideal. Click here for U.S. News’ Ultimate Holiday Tipping Guide
- Botched Black Friday? Maybe you had too much turkey and blew off Black Friday. No worries. Here are some other great days for getting a good deal throughout December: Dec 12, Green Monday – the top-grossing online shopping day, third to only to Black Friday and Cyber Monday; Dec 16: Free Shipping Day – the name says it all; Dec 24, Super Saturday and Christmas Eve – extended store hours and deals will help you finish strong; and Dec 26, After-Christmas Sales – retailers typically slash prices to clear the way for new inventory.