Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, but the deals just keep on coming for consumers.
You won’t find people staying in tents waiting for hours to buy a $99.00 high definition television this week, but you will find what appear to be exciting bargains that will appeal to your shopping instincts. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to get the best bang for their buck with the holiday deals?
But that’s where the buyer should beware. A great deal doesn’t become a great deal if you buy something because it is on sale, and then you spend hundreds of dollars you didn’t plan on once you get inside the store. And it’s not a great deal if you really didn’t need it in the first place. That’s where planning and budgeting, come into play.
When you are putting your gift wish list together, here’s a good action plan to take advantage of those door-busting deals out there without busting your bank account.
- Figure out how much money you have to spend for gifts. Stick to that budgeted figure.
- Make a list of the people you need to buy gifts for, and what you would like to buy them. At the same time, try to assign an estimated price you will spend for their gift, keeping your ultimate spending limit in mind.
- Now that you have your shopping list in order, check out newspaper ads and do some research online to see which stores have the best prices for the gifts you are looking for. By shopping with a plan in mind, you save gas and time by going directly to the store to buy the gift. You may also find a better deal online, so consider that option. You have plenty of time to order the gift and have it shipped before Christmas, and you save gas and time fighting traffic at the mall. You want to avoid going to the mall and having no idea what to buy. That’s when panic sets in, and you are more likely to buy any gift just buy a gift, regardless of what the price is.
You may also want to consider a gift that won’t cost you any money – your time. You could clean an elderly friend or family member’s house, or give a gift of a voucher that is good for a certain amount of hours where you will baby sit or pet sit. The gift of time can be more precious than any pair of slippers or a sweater.
The bottom line is that you need to be prepared for shopping, especially at this time of the year. The best way to manage your debt and avoid getting into trouble after the holidays is to take a few minutes to plan a shopping strategy. It can save time and money, and your gift will be a better one because you took the time to prepare.