The Financial Problem: The season of giving is upon us, and you need to buy holiday gifts for everyone on your list—but don’t want to be stuck paying off the bill long after the snow has melted.
Start budgeting now. Knowing how much you can spend before you hit the stores saves you from being surprised by a higher than usual credit card bill come January.
Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for and how much you can afford to spend on each. Once you’ve got your number, divide it by how many paychecks you have owed to you between now and Dec. 25 (or whichever day your chosen holiday starts). Saving a little bit each week ensures you’ll have enough cash to buy gifts for everyone on your list by the time the holidays roll around. It also means that you can start shopping as soon as you start saving, instead of putting all your gift purchases on a credit card that could otherwise take months to pay off.
While you may have been conditioned to save your holiday shopping for the last minute in order to snag the best deals, this year it may pay (literally!) to shop early. Retailers who got slammed with unsold merchandise last holiday season have cut back on inventory and are encouraging shoppers to buy now. This year, Kmart is extending the majority of its Black Friday sales through the weekend, and Staples is pricing 16 GB USB drives for as little as $10. For more Black Friday-like bargains, visit bfads.net, which provides the latest sales and a newsletter that delivers deal updates right to your inbox.
Tell us in the comments: How do you strategize for holiday shopping?
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