Lisa Moore is the owner Lismoore Drapery & Interiors and a member of the Window Covering Association of America (WCAA). Email your questions/concerns/comments to
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How many times have you started to panic as soon as December rolls around because you are worried about how much Christmas is going to cost you? Do you typically find yourself dipping into your savings account or worse yet, maxing out your credit cards to pay for Christmas? Many people find buying Christmas gifts to be one of the hardest things they have to do. Others are clueless about giving the right kind of gift. Sometimes, people get mixed signals and end up buying the wrong thing. Holiday shopping and spending mistakes can cost you more than you realise if you do not plan well in advance. It can also be tempting to go crazy the first Christmas after you get your first real job. You are making real money, and you feel that you want to say thanks to those who have helped you while you struggled through school. The following are some tips that can help you save money, while still saying thanks, but avoiding the most common holiday shopping mistakes.
Make a budget and stick to it
Before you buy a single Christmas gift, you should determine how much you have to spend on the holiday season. Many people forget to add Christmas cards, office parties and travel expenses. If you are planning to entertain you should add this at the top of your list. Make a list of whom you'll want to buy for, and the amount you plan to spend on each gift. As you spend the money, subtract it from your total; this will help you stick to your budget. When you have used up all of your holiday money, then you need to stop spending.
Don't use your credit card
One common holiday shopping mistake is to put everything on your credit card. You can end up paying for Christmas for several months into the new year this way. We tend to overspend more when we use our credit cards. Use your debit card or cash to purchase your Christmas gifts. If you plan carefully you will not need to use credit to buy anything associated with Christmas... This is one gift you should to give yourself.
Don't buy to impress
It is tempting when you finally have some money to go out and buy extravagant gifts for everyone on your list. You may want to buy an extra nice gift for your parents or a close friend, but try not to go overboard. Most people would prefer a well-thought out gift that matches their personality and interests to something you bought simply because it was extravagant. You should be able to see when you are crossing that line.
Don't forget anyone
Make a list today of the people that you buy gifts for. Beside each name, allocate the amount that you want to spend, as well as some thoughts on what to buy them. That way, so that you do not forget anyone's gift, or worse, purchase the same gift twice. Take your list with you and consult it as you shop. Cross off each person as you find their gift.
Do shop around
Some of you may hate shopping, and so one holiday shopping mistake you may be tempted to make is to forego comparison shopping. At the very least you should check out two or three stores, so you will have an idea of the price of an item before making your purchase. Watch out for current sales and take advantage of them. You also have the option of shopping online at eBay and other online discount shops. When shopping online try to make your purchases before late December to allow items to be shipped in time. This may save you the trouble of shopping all together.
Don't wait until the last minute
The worst gifts and worst prices are a result of waiting until the last minute to do your shopping. You can begin your holiday shopping the day after Christmas, as you search for the perfect present. There is nothing worse than the feeling of dread as you try to find a decent present for your family and friends in the nearly empty aisles of a store. Avoid this holiday shopping mistake by beginning to find and purchase your gifts now.
Add christmas to your budget
Many people's biggest financial holiday mistake is to forget to spread the cost of Christmas over the entire year. You really should set aside money each month to cover the cost of next Christmas. You can put the money into a Christmas savings account, or simply earmark the money in your normal savings account. This allows you to purchase your Christmas gifts without all of the worry. By planning in advance you will find that your Christmas will be a lot less stressful and a lot more enjoyable this year
To save yourself the hustle and fuss of Christmas shopping, feel free to call us for all your soft furnishings needs... Enjoy!
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