Holiday Shopping Money Tips

By: Sandra Simmons

If you are like most people, you severely UNDER-estimate what the holiday gift list is going to cost. Here are some time-tested tips to help you not overspend on gift giving.

The biggest mistake you can make is to start out on your holiday shopping trips with NO GIFT PLAN and NO SPENDING PLAN. That usually causes spending to double and you end up a Grouchy Grinch after the holiday when you have to pay the bills or you are short on money.

1 – Decide what your total spending budget is for gifts. Hopefully you have stashed some money away for this ahead of time and don’t have to use credit cards you can’t pay off immediately. Add some to the budget to cover gift wrap, sales tax and shipping to out of town recipients.

2 – Make a list of everyone you have to buy gifts for. In large families, draw names so you don’t have to buy everyone a gift, that way your budget goes further and you can get nicer gifts for fewer people. Don’t forget the kids’ teachers, your beautician and the mailman if you usually get them something.

3 – Next to each person’s name write down the amount you want to spend. Add these up and make adjustments so you don’t OVER-spend on your plan.

4 – For each person, write down a list of gift ideas that can be purchased within the gift limit. Make a list of stores where you can shop to get a great selection of that item at great prices. The more ideas you have for each person, the more likely you are to find a great gift that is within the price limit.

5 – Consolidate your shopping trips to the places on the list and shop well in advance so you get the best selection. Even if you don’t usually read the newspaper, at least get the Sunday editions starting the week before Thanksgiving. That way you can see the sales at your targeted shopping destinations, get some great discount coupons and get some gift ideas for those hard-to-shop-for family members and friends.

6 – For long distance gift giving, consider gift certificates so the person can pick out what they actually want. Restaurant gift certificates are great for women who will be tired of cooking during the Holiday and will really appreciate a relaxing meal that someone else had to shop for, cook and clean up after.

7 – As you find the gift items and decide to buy, scratch the person off the list as a DONE so you won’t be tempted to buy more.

8 – Shop for the recipient. A well thought out gift that the person will truly use is better than a designer label anything that they wouldn’t think of wearing or using, no matter how much of a bargain it was.

Gift Ideas with Flair

Make the box or container a part of the gift. Forget the gift wrap and shop for unique containers that can become part of the gift and used later. If you buy someone a scarf and one other item, wrap the item artfully in the scarf and tie on a nice ribbon bow.

A gift of homemade cookies in a nice container to keep them in can be a much appreciated gift for about $11; especially for a single guy who never cooks.

Buying someone a book or book store gift certificate? Find a unique container and include something to enjoy with the book like a selection of tea and organic chocolates; A nice gift for about $35.

A pound of organic coffee, a bar of organic chocolate and a great music CD can be boxed up for under $30.

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Sandra Simmons, President of Money Management Solutions has years of experience helping business owners and individuals manage their money to achieve financial freedom. To learn more, Watch the FREE 5-minute demo video on her website (

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