The holidays are coming up, and that often means some extra spending. While that's to be expected, the additional challenges of 2020 can make spending money more difficult this year. Fortunately, there are great ways to save money and be frugal while still offering your friends and family something they'll enjoy and treasure.
Here are some important issues to consider, so you can be prepared for the 2020 holiday spending and the after effects of that spending in 2021.
Know Where You Truly Are With Your Current Budget
The first thing you'll want to do before you start spending for the holidays is to be sure where you are with your budget. Take a critical look at it, and consider what you honestly have to spend on the holidays. It might not be as much as you'd hoped, or as much as the previous year, and that's okay.
Many people have lost jobs, had their hours reduced, or otherwise had to reconsider how they do things financially in 2020. You won't be the only one shopping carefully and potentially reducing how much you're spending on your family and friends this year. Don't feel guilty about making a change to protect your financial future.
Take Full Advantage of Deal and Sales
When you take advantage of a good deal or look for items on the clearance rack, you're being wise and frugal. Don't let the idea of "buying cheap" bother you. It's possible to get good quality items at low prices when you shop sales and pay close attention to deals. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times to get what you're looking for, but make sure you focus on getting what you planned to buy, and don't buy a lot of extra items just because they're less money. If you don't need them at full price, you don't need them on sale, either.
Create a Plan for Paying Off Any Holiday Spending
Understanding how you're going to pay off your holiday purchases is another important aspect of shopping for gifts for friends and family members. If you have a budget and make a plan to pay off what you spend, you won't be scrambling to get things paid in January and February of 2021. Bigger purchases may take longer to pay off, of course, but if you have a plan you can feel confident that those purchases will be paid off properly and won't cause you any extra financial stress.
Set a Limit, And Make Sure You Stick to It
Setting a limit for how much you're going to be spending is vital, and so is sticking to that limit. Even if you see something else you know a friend would love, or something a family member needs, buying extra and going above your limit can get you into trouble later. It's important to avoid that, and you can steer clear of financial troubles more easily when you stick to the limit you've created. You may want to make some small changes to your purchases if you see something that you think is a better fit, but make sure the changes you make are still in your overall budget.
Turn Shopping Into a Game, and Reward Yourself
Shopping is usually a pretty fun activity overall, and you can make it even more fun when you turn it into a game. Look for ways to reward yourself, and consider options for how to get the most for your money. By turning it into a game, you can have an even better time finding everything that your family and friends might want for the holidays and that fits into the budget you've already set for yourself. You'll probably find that you don't have to pay full price for nearly anything, when you turn shopping into an enjoyable game with rewards for what you can find at great prices.
Return Unwanted Items, and Use That Cash Back
After the holidays are over, you'll probably have some cash back from your purchases. You might also have some items you received that really don't fit what you're looking for. Make sure you return them promptly, so the return window doesn't close on them. Also, use that cash back for something you need, or use it to pay down your credit card or other bills that accumulated from shopping for the holidays. You can often get a lot of money toward paying off your bills when you do that, and you'll avoid keeping things around the house you don't want or need, as well.