It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the holiday season is about to begin. This season of giving can be very stressful. Have you started to think of what you’re going to buy and for whom this year? Here are some things to remember when shopping…

holiday giftsKnow your Budget: First decide how much you’d like to spend overall before you break it down per person. You need to know how much you have before you can buy anything. Stick to this budget! $20 means $20, not $25. It can be helpful to keep a running log of what you spend as well.

Make a List: This will help you decide who you’d like to buy for, what you want to spend on each person, and what gift(s) you expect to purchase for each person. A list can keep you focused!

Pre-Shop: Once you have an idea of what you’d like to buy, start looking around at who carries the product. Call stores and look online. Often times, websites will not only provide the products they carry but their weekly ads showing their current sales. This will eliminate the unnecessary cost of gas, driving time around to look in person (which we all know can be exhausting!) and help to find where an item is for the least amount of money.

Look for Sales and Promotions: Join coupon websites like groupon.com and coupons.com or download coupon apps on your phone! This is a great way to save some money on your gifts. Even consider joining the mailing lists of your favorite stores to keep up with their sales.

https://i2.wp.com/i.huffpost.com/gen/1010940/thumbs/o-ONLINE-SHOPPING-facebook.jpgConsider Online-Shopping: Many retailers such as Best Buy and Macy’s, offer discounts that are only available online and often throw in free shipping and no hassle returns. Online-shopping allows you to avoid the lines, waits, and stress all while enjoying the comfort of your own home and pajamas… check out Amazon, eBay, and Etsy for some great gifts!

Use Debit, not Credit: By using a debit card (or cash), you only spend what you have. When you use a credit card, you can penalize yourself by overspending and then have to pay interest. Just remember to check your bank statement frequently to make sure that what you’re spending matches your budget and bank account!

Be Cautious of the Gift Receipt: Gift receipts are often used in case the receiver of the gift does not like what they got. It does not show the amount that was paid, and can help remove any judgment from giver to receiver or vice versa. However, giving them the real receipt is actually more beneficial! This way they can take it back and get the full amount of money that you paid for it, and not store credit or the price the day of the return.

Get Creative: Snowman Kit PailNot all gifts have to come from a store. Tap into your creative side and consider making gifts like jewelry, scarves, and personalized photos! Here are some ideas: http://www.pinterest.com/jmm11683/make-it-yourself-gift-ideas/

Always remember, it’s the thought that counts!

Written by Christina Migdalias, Peer Educator

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