Strategies for Meaningful Holiday Gifts on a Budget

The parking lots at the shopping plazas have started to reach chaos status on the weekends.  Some people are window shopping in anticipation of Black Friday deals and others are getting a jump on their gift purchases.  Gift giving at the holidays gets more complicated each year and it’s hard to get all the shopping done if you wait until mid-December.  Here are a few tips to keep your shopping, and budget, in check this holiday season.

Make a gift list: Keep a list of all the people you are going to buy gifts for and write down ideas for presents for them. Having this list can help streamline your shopping trips. Keeping your gift plans organized can save you the stress of long check-out lines, fighting for parking spots or sweating out shipping dates too close to celebrations. 

Set spending limits in advance of shopping trips: Once you have your gift list, establish some spending limits.  You may have a limit that is set by a group in a gift exchange or it may be something you determine based on your financial goals.  Having a limit in mind before you start shopping will help you find a perfect gift that doesn’t break your budget. Combining the gift list and spending limits will also help you avoid overspending when faced with deals on items you never planned to purchase.

Listen during get-togethers with family and friends:  As the holiday shopping season approaches, pay close attention to what your friends and family are interested in.  Having an idea of their hobbies and wish list items will help you find a gift that is meaningful. Take time to research their interests to find something they will love that fits within your spending limits. 

Keep good records for next year: If you do all of the things above, you will have a nice collection of information to help you budget and plan for next year.  Keep your gift list somewhere safe to help you estimate how much money you will need for gifts. Keeping some notes on people’s hobbies and interests will also help you with birthday gifts throughout the year and again next holiday season. 

Gift-giving can be such an exciting activity.  It’s wonderful to see the look on someone’s face when they open up a present you hand-picked for them.  It can be even more joyful if you didn’t struggle with gift ideas or feel stressed while shopping. Follow these tips and enjoy the best gift-giving year ever!

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