Using the Buy Now, Pay Later for holiday shopping can get you in trouble. When you start clicking yes on that option, you think of it as a single transaction, “it’s only $10,” but that will quickly add up once you include all the items you purchase using this method. In addition, some charge interest and late fees, while others don't. Make sure you double-check and understand the terms of the items you are purchasing.
Let me start by saying the amount you spend on someone has no relation to how much you love that person. Don’t try to outspend others; it will only get you into deeper financial trouble.
Plan for the Holidays
Start thinking about it after the holidays; you must start paying for everything. How is that going to make you feel? Does thinking about it weigh heavily on you?
Make the necessary changes to improve your finances come the new year. The holidays and gift-giving are not a surprise or an emergency. I said it! I get it. I’ve been in situations where I didn’t plan and felt like the holidays just came so fast that I didn’t save enough or anything for them. I focused on the four gifts rule for our kids:
- Something they want
- Something they need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
We also talked about how much I would be spending when the kids got older because that one thing they wanted might be hundreds if not thousands of dollars. They can wish, but this momma is sticking to her budget.
How can you purchase your holiday gifts?
Look at your budget; what can you afford to spend on gifts? Start by listing whom you want to give a gift to, the item you wish to purchase, and the amount you can afford to spend on them. Do these two things match up? You want to give your friend a jacket, but your budget is $25. Is that realistic and doable? It might be if you are going to go thrifting for their gift.
Once you have the list of individuals and their gifts, check it twice. What’s the total amount of all the gifts you plan to purchase? Is it in your budget?
Do you have the funds?
If not, do you still have time to save and buy these gifts a little at a time? How can you increase your income to cover these expenses?
Can you reduce your expenses to cover your gifts, or do you need to bring in extra cash? You can only cut your spending and expenses so much. Maybe taking on a part-time or seasonal job to cover these expenses might be an option.
Can you do some errands for other people to increase your income or get a gig? What about selling items you no longer need and use to bring in some extra spending cash?
Check Your List Twice
Is your gift-giving list too long? Can you suggest a gift exchange with your friends and family? You can set a gift limit of $10, $20, $50, or whatever amount you feel comfortable with. Make it fun; it can be a themed exchange like ornaments, wine, or books!
That way, instead of buying a gift for each of your friends, you only need to buy one gift for the gift exchange. You reduced the number of gifts and the amount you would have spent.
Rethink Your Gifts
Another way to save money might be to make something. Yes, DIY it if that is in your wheelhouse, whether that’s baking some homemade treats or crafting a personalized gift. This allows you to give something and stay within your budget.
Be Aware of the Costs for Items on Your List
A few things you can do is start looking for the items you are planning on purchasing and start tracking their price. You’ll be able to see if that Black Friday Sale is an actual sale.
Enjoy the Season
The Holiday Season can be stressful and can quickly get us into the red with our budget and set back our finances. This season is not about how much you spend or what gifts you give and to who; it’s about enjoying and spending quality time with your family and friends.