Getting ready for the holidays can be stressful; especially when you start looking at your Christmas gift wish list and all the people you need to buy gifts for. Is it okay to go into debt to pay for your holiday gifts? Should you buy expensive gifts for everyone on your list? Do you have loved ones with their hearts set on an expensive gift like a designer dress or expensive scotch? When it comes to budgeting for pricey Christmas gifts, it is essential to plan ahead and know your options.
Decide in Advance
If you want to prevent yourself from having financial problems during the holidays, you need to plan ahead. Don’t wait until the end of November to start saving money for Christmas. If you know there are going to be expensive items on the list this year, plan early to pay for them. A great way to start is to set aside an extra $50 or more per paycheck until the big shopping days arrive. Once you have a pretty decent amount saved up, you will find it is much easier to afford the expensive gifts. Most people end up going into debt during the holidays because they fail to plan ahead. Don’t let yourself become the person who racks up expensive credit card payments because you didn’t think about Christmas in the middle of the summer.
The other thing you can do is look at what your options are to finance your holiday gifts. Would you prefer to pay for holiday gifts with credit cards, a line of credit, or a home equity loan? There are quite a few options available to help with holiday expenses. To find out if a line of credit is right for your situation, talk to your bank to find out what they will offer. Some banks offer low interest rates on credit cards and personal loans to their loyal customers. Consider a credit card that offers a zero percent interest rate for a few months. This will allow you to buy all the gifts you need and repay them before you are charged interest. Just make sure you know you will be able to repay all the money you borrow from the credit card before you are hit with the interest. One other way to help pay for your holiday gifts is to find out if the store will provide financing options. Some stores offer credit cards and others will offer layaway options. This is a great way to afford your holiday gifts because you can place them on hold and pay for them over time.
Do you have some old CDs and electronics or unused high-end clothes that are still good? If so, look for stores that will provide you with an exchange or trade-in program. This is a great way to earn store credit to help purchase a new gift for someone on your holiday shopping list.
Trim the List
If you are underwater on your mortgage, or if you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, expensive holiday shopping is not going to be the right thing to do. You may need to tell your loved ones that this year is not going to be an expensive Christmas. Trim down the list of the people you need to give gifts to so you don’t end up spending too much money on people who won’t be hurt if you don’t give them a gift.
This article was provided by Ashley Vasquez, couture collector and master budgeter. If you’re looking for a job to aid others in their holiday budgeting, Ashley recommends looking into financial analyst jobs with moneyjobs.com.