The holidays are coming, quickly, as they tend to do. This year, shopping may look a little different, so here are a few tips for filling your stockings online without breaking the bank….
Write it down:
First, you need a list of people. If Santa has a list, why in the world do you think you can get away without one? Before you begin your shopping extravaganza, list out each person that will get a gift from you. Going in blind is a recipe for disaster. Kids make the list, but what about extended family? Teachers? Your hair stylist? The Secret Santa at work? Anyone that you usually shop for should be on the list. (Then you can decide if they need to stay on the list or if some can be cut….)
Now check it twice….. Once you have a list of people, it’s best to set a budget for each. Not sure how much to budget? Go back and see what you spent last year – then make adjustments as needed. All too often we start spending without thinking (or adding). It’s easy to fall into the trap of shopping here and there and forgetting to add it all up. Suddenly we spent too much on our kids and don’t have enough left for others. Or, we spend too much on everyone and end up paying for the gifts, and credit card interest, for months after the holidays are over. Don’t do that to your future self. Stick to the list and the budget.
Sidenote: Have some space in your budget for the “extras” outside of gifts. Decorations, wrapping paper, extra food and alcohol and desserts…. They all add up!
Next up – brainstorm ideas. Not sure what to buy? Ask! There’s nothing wrong with asking for suggestions if you’re coming up blank. You want to have some ideas for each person that fit within the dollar boundaries you set for yourself. You may find that your ideas exceed your budget and you need some new ideas. Better to realize that now in the planning stage than to find out later in the paying-the-bills stage. Be realistic and get creative!
Ok, you’ve got the list of people. You’ve got the budget for each. You’ve got the gift ideas. Now it’s time to shop. The great thing about online shopping? It’s much easier to price check. When you know what you are planning to buy, you can check lots of different sites to get the best deal. Or, shop from apps like Ibotta where you can get rebates and cashback from lots of different retailers. (Bonus – you can use that cashback towards this year’s gift bill or to start a holiday fund for next year!) And don’t forget to search for coupon codes! You could get a percentage off or free shipping just by searching for codes before you buy. Or, even better, use a browser extension like Honey that will check for the best deals and coupon codes for you! (Extra credit: Shop small when you can. Small businesses need support more than ever this year!)
Above all, stay laser-focused. Stores know more people than ever are shopping online due to the pandemic, so they will do their best to entice you to buy more and browse around. Be mindful of the gimmicks and marketing tactics, and be diligent in sticking to your list. Be wary of items that seem too good to be true, and don’t get sidetracked by Shiny Object Syndrome. Make your plan and stick to it! And, if you find some “must-haves” that are not on your list (or in your budget), put them aside for future gift ideas. Create a list in a notes app of your choice to save the links to make them easy to find. Now you have a jump on next year’s shopping!
The holidays may look different this year, but that doesn’t mean they have to be any less merry and bright.
Jessica Kleine is a money + mindset coach who specializes in helping moms stop living paycheck to paycheck. She teaches simple strategies and mindset tweaks to create mind-blowing results through her 1:1 and group coaching programs. To learn more, join her free Facebook community: www.facebook.com/groups/moneycoachingformombosses or follow her on Instagram/Facebook @themombossmoneycoach.