The holiday season probably isn’t on your mind quite yet, but we’ll be right in the middle of the hectic time again just a few months from now. I know I’ll be stressed out because finding a gift for everyone can definitely be stressful.
When it comes to gift shopping, many of us leave it until the last minute. Ever been at the mall on Christmas Eve trying to find a present? If so, you probably know that it’s not a fun experience. Instead of going through the holiday shopping madness, it’s a good idea to get started now. Not only will you avoid all the crowds, but you can also save money just by planning ahead. Here are five things you can do right now to help you save on holiday shopping later on:
Create a Shopping List
You have to stay organized when it comes to holiday shopping. There’s so many different gifts to get and it’s easy to lose track of it all. Start the activity off right by creating your shopping list early. Make a list of all the people you need to buy a gift for. You don’t necessarily need to know exactly what you’re getting right now but starting this list early will help you brainstorm so that you’re not trying to figure it out last minute.
Update Your Budget Now
It’s a good idea to revise your budget now as you are preparing your list. All that holiday shopping can add up to be a significant amount. The earlier you start budgeting it in, the easier it will be to save the money. Look at your budget and see where you can cut back on these next few months. Cutting your budget by as little as $20 can make a difference come December.
Start a Holiday Shopping Fund
After you have revised your budget, you can start saving for your holiday shopping fund. Create a rough estimate of how much you will be spending by using your shopping list. For instance, perhaps you’ve decided to spend $20 on each gift and you have five people to shop for. That means you have to save up $100. That’s roughly $34 per month over the next 3 months. Make it easy by setting up an automatic transfer to your savings account. This way, you won’t even have to think about it. It’s also a good idea to save a little bit more – you never know when you might have to buy a couple unexpected presents.
Be On the Lookout for Sales
The best part about starting your holiday shopping early is that you can be on the lookout for sales. Stores have promotions on a monthly basis (at the minimum) and you might be able to find the perfect present when you least expect it. You can also start planning your purchases around the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. Creating your shopping list early will allow you to take advantage of all these deals.
Do Your Research Online
Starting your holiday shopping early gives you the benefit of time. Make sure to do your research online. Look up products reviews. Use price comparison shopping tools. See what gadgets and gifts are trending in popularity. Not only will you be able to save some money but you’ll also be able to find a gift people will like.
Holiday shopping can be stressful because we put it off until the last possible moment. It’s never too early to get a head start. Do yourself a favor and start thinking about it now. The experience will be less overwhelming and you’ll give your wallet a little more time to prepare too.