Impress for Less: Holiday shopping budget

During the holidays, your budget is spent on gifts for best friends, family members and even a boyfriend or girlfriend. But after Thanksgiving, your belt isn’t the only thing that’s getting tighter. Although spending money on your loved ones is generous and expected, those gifts can have an expensive price tag.

The smart way to save money during the holidays is sticking to a budget. Here are some money-saving tips:

Make a list
Writing down gift ideas is a good way to keep track of what you have to buy. While you’re shopping, carry a list to keep you focused on what you wrote down, rather than buying something you don’t need or forgetting a present.

D.I.Y. is the way to go
Doing it yourself comes in handy when you have a tight budget. Pinterest.com has many ideas for creative crafts and easy homemade gifts such as big letter initials made out of wine corks or hand-dotted glass tumblers. Even better, a lot of DIY gifts look like items that could be bought in a store.

Start buying now
If you still want to buy fancy items but can’t afford them all at once, then start early. Depending on how many people you are buying presents for, buy one present every two weeks until Christmas. Now, you will have money left over for important things such as food, rent and daily trips to Starbucks.

Black Friday
Black Friday is one of the most anticipated shopping days of the year. Especially for those ambitious shoppers who want more bang for their buck. According to money.cnn.com, Americans spent $59.1 billion shopping on Black Friday in 2012. Although this day requires many hours waiting in line and hoping you won’t get trampled by other shoppers, it’s perfect for buying markdowns on expensive items or last-minute gifts.

The Re-gifter
This is the cheapest way to save money. No one has to know that you rewrapped your old gifts for new gifts. But be mindful about what gift you’re going to re-gift. For instance, don’t give your best friend an ugly sweater your grandmother gave you. She has probably seen it in your closet. Also, make sure the re-gift looks brand new and if it’s clothes, make sure they’re clean. The only thing you’ll have to explain is where the price tag is. Oops.

Take advantage of Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday is the online shopping version of Black Friday and it’s always the Monday after Thanksgiving. You can score some major deals from your favorite shopping websites. Also, if you spend more than a certain amount, shipping is usually free.

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