I tend to fall into the holiday spending trap sometimes. It is usually because of one of two things: either I waited too long and can’t find good deals anymore, or I went a little too shopping happy and ended up spending more than I had originally planned.
Either way I tend to be a little unhappy about it. The holidays are supposed to be perfect, after all, not a time to stress over finances and shopping habits.
Get Ahead of Holiday Spending
Plan Ahead. I can’t even begin to say how many times having a solid, and well laid out plan has saved me from being frantically shopping at the last minute, or spending too much. I don’t know which feels worse, so I always make sure I sit down on November 1st, and make a list of who I need to buy for, and what I am going to buy for them.
When I have my list, I check ads, sales, and shop around to make sure I always get the best price.
Take Advantage of Rewards programs. There are many retailers that offer rewards, as well as credit card rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards. Retailer rewards are more like loyalty programs most of the time, but they are worth it if they send you coupons for participating. Those coupons can actually help you get ahead even more. But the real time and money saver comes from your Ultimate Rewards program, which is available to Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, and Ink from Chase cardholders. When you use any of these cards, you earn points on every purchase, which can be redeemed for rewards.
The best part of the Ultimate Rewards program is that it isn’t one size fits most. There are so many rewards available to choose from, such as travel, fun family experiences, special merchandise, gift cards, and the classic cash back. This personalized experience makes the program perfect for you because it is whatever you want it to be. When holiday shopping is so important. use your points accumulated throughout the year to help you go the extra mile when buying gifts, starting at $20 for 2,000 points.
Get a partner. This is usually my husband, but I find that it is sometimes impossible to do it all by myself. I like to split the shopping list up between the two of us, especially when we’re picking up gifts for the kids. There’s no way I’m going to let them peek into the cart while we’re shopping for them. One of us usually stays with the kids, doing a fun activity, while the other does the shopping.
After the shopping is done we flawlessly perform a distraction so the gifts can be hidden in one of our very smart hiding places.
Shop Online. You’d be surprised how much better you feel when you can do 80% of your holiday shopping online. There are a few major perks to shopping online: you can price match multiple retailers in the comfort of your home, and you can stay in your comfortable clothes. Those are my favorite perks, anyway.
When you have kids who are super excited about gifts, sometimes it just isn’t worth the risk to hide unwrapped presents throughout the house. Leaving them in the box they were shipped in is a sure way to keep the surprises a surprise, and a bonus of driving the kids who try and find their gifts crazy.
When it comes to holiday shopping, there is no reason to stress out. Enjoy the holiday, and show the rush of December who is boss.