Lifestyles Center Blog

SURVIVOR SERIES: HOLIDAY SHOPPING ON A BUDGET

Halloween has passed and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Now that it’s November (seriously can’t believe I just wrote that!), it’s officially acceptable to talk about the holiday season. As the weather outside is slowly turning frightful, we’ve got to keep our thoughts delightful. But, as students, we usually tend to get a little tight on cash and the holidays make this struggle even harder. This week, we’ve compiled a few tips to keep in mind when you start shopping for presents this holiday season.

  1. Make a budget. Budgets are never fun, but a holiday budget will be the most useful tool for you when shopping. Plan out how much you are able to spend while also ensuring you’ll have enough money left over when the season ends. If you have a source of income during break, make sure you factor in paycheck estimates, too.
  2. Set limits. Talk to your friends, family and partners (as well as anyone else you may be exchanging gifts with) about setting a mutual limit on how much you’re allowed to spend on each other. This will prevent one gift-giver from out-doing the other, as well as allow you to stick to the ever so important budget mentioned above.
  3. Don’t be afraid of Black Friday. Shopping on Black Friday can be a nightmare, there’s no question about that. However, as a retail worker who has survived a few of these insane nights behind the register, I’ll let you in on a little secret: in the last few years, a lot of stores have begun opening earlier on Thursday evening, causing at least some of the controversy surrounding family members having to work on Thanksgiving. Retailers advertise that these “doorbuster” sales only last for a short amount of time, but for the most part, these sales will last at least throughout the day. You can avoid the crazy, stampede-like rush of opening hours and still get the same great deals the next day. And if you’re wondering what this retailer argues is the best time, (whispers) try to go between midnight and 6 a.m. early Friday morning. All of the same sales are going on, but the mob will have died down and you can shop without the rush of a regular business day!
  4. Talk to yourself. And no, I promise that doesn’t mean you’re crazy. When shopping for gifts, ask yourself a few questions before making your final purchase. “Will the person I’m buying this for use/wear/play with this present? Will I stay within my budget if I purchase this?” Questions like these will help you minimize or even eliminate impulse buys and save your budget.
  5. Plan for next year. Once the season is over, stock up on older wrapping paper, bags, bows, and any other decorating supplies you’d like. Everything will be at a discounted price and you’ll already be saving money for next season.

The holidays don’t have to be a scary time for your bank account! Make a plan and stick to it, and you’ll survive the December sprees!

Written By Allison Flanagan, Peer Educator

Photo Cred: Amazon present