Six Ways to Create a Holiday Shopping Budget

/ BY / Personal Finance

Are you a little short of spending money this holiday season? Don’t worry—with some creative thinking you’ll still be able to purchase some great gifts for everyone on your list.

  1. Take stock of how much money you have available to you. You can count cash and available credit (bank cards and store cards). Don’t forget the points that you’ve earned through credit card rewards programs; they can be a great way to extend your purchasing power.
  2. Watch for special deals on points on your bank cards; you may be able to earn double or triple points if you buy certain types of items or use your card at designated vendors. (These deals usually change each few months, so it pays to look at them year round.)
  3. Check your current credit card interest rates. If you know you won’t be able to pay off the balance on the card in January, it just makes sense to use the card with the lowest rate. A variation of even a point or two can make a big difference in how much you’ll ultimately pay if you’re going to have to stretch payments out over a few months.
  4. If you have only one bank card, this could be a good time to consider opening another to take advantage of special deals on balance transfers or interest rates.
  5. Find some seasonal ways to generate more income. Retail stores, package delivery services and other local businesses may be looking for part time workers at the time of year.

    You can also tap into your entrepreneurial side and create your own jobs. People are very busy during December, and they are looking for ways to save time and reduce their stress.

    • Do you have a creative flair? Offer gift wrapping services for harried gift givers.  
    • Provide decorating services. You can put up the outside lights, or help indoors by getting the decorations down from the attic and trimming the tree and then putting the empty boxes away again. (To earn a little more, offer to help store the decorations again after the holiday.)
    • Babysit kids while their parents go shopping. Entertain the kids with a cookie decorating session—you can charge a little more that way.
    • Offer to run errands or stand in line to take advantage of some special holiday sales so that your customer gets the good deals they can’t wait for themselves.
    • Help out at a holiday party. If you know someone who hosts a large gathering each year, ask if they’d like help with cleaning the house, decorating, serving and cleaning up.
  6. Postpone some purchases by giving a promissory note for some future event or merchandise. Do your parents love going to dinner theater or to the ball game? Tell them to pick a date, a show and you’ll buy the tickets. Is a younger sibling eagerly awaiting the release of a new video game in a few months? Offer to buy the special game pack when it comes out. Does a friend love books by a particular author? Promise to pick up a signed copy of that author’s next new book when it comes out.

    You’ll get the credit for providing a great present while spreading out your holiday spending over several months. Plus, your gift recipient will have the fun of anticipating a special treat and enjoying it long after their other gifts have been put away.

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Please note your financial situation is unique and our tips & advice presented here may not be appropriate for your situation. recommends that you seek different advice & opinions from your own accountant or financial adviser who understands your individual circumstances before making any important decisions or implementing any financial strategy.