Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Shopping on a Budget

Although most people enjoy giving during the Holiday season, it’s also a fact that Holiday shopping can be a financial burden for many, especially during this economy.  Moreover, although Holiday sales are predicted to do well this year, the fact that a lot of money will be spent is especially true for large families or groups of friends who regularly exchange gifts.  Holiday shopping can also be a financial problem for those who feel compelled to purchase expensive gifts for each person on their list.  However, there are ways to deal with this situation that occurs during the Holiday season. 

One way to deal with a potential financial burden is to set a Holiday budget; another way is to shop year round instead of all at once.  This can also help you to avoid the large crowds on Black Friday.  What I would like to do here is discuss the importance of setting a budget for Holiday shopping as well as how shopping throughout the year can be less of a financial burden. 

Those concerned over how much money will be spent on Holiday shopping should set a budget before starting.  To do this, create a list of all the people you intend to buy for this Holiday season.  This list should include close friends and family members you usually purchase gifts for as well as any co-workers, your mail carrier, or your children’s teachers for which you may purchase gifts.  You may also wish to budget for gifts donated to toy drives if you typically contribute during these events.

Once you have your list of gift recipients there are a couple of ways to go about establishing a budget.  The simplest way is to decide how much you plan to spend altogether and divide this amount by the number of gift recipients on your list.  This will result in a budget in which you plan to spend the same amount for each person on your list.  This may be appropriate if you plan on purchasing similar gifts for each person on your list, but it may not work if you wish to purchase something really special for a few of your closest friends or relatives.

Another strategy for establishing a budget is to determine how much you would like to spend and divide the individuals into different categories.  Some of the categories you might want to include are close friends and relatives, business associates, acquaintances, and for charity drives.  Once you have your list categorized you can determine how much you would like to spend on each category.  For example you might decide to spend 50% of your total budget on close friends and relatives, 25% on business associates, 15% on acquaintances, and the remaining 10% on gifts for charity drives.  Then, you can use these numbers to determine the total amount you will spend on each category and divide that number by the total number of people in each category to determine a dollar amount for each person on your list.

A final strategy for establishing a budget is to determine how much you plan to spend on certain on your list.  This will most likely include your closest relatives.  Once you set dollar amounts for your closest relatives, you could divide the remaining amount of money in your budget.  This can either be done arbitrarily by dividing the remaining amount by the remaining people on your list, or you can go through your list selecting a dollar amount for each person until you reach your budget.  At this time if there are any remaining people on your list you will have to either reevaluate the dollar amounts you have chosen or consider eliminating some people from your list.