Insurance and Finance

Balanced Budget

By Casey Kelly-Barton 11.21.16

Give yourself the gift of stress-free holiday shopping by setting a budget and planning your purchases before you start putting presents in your cart. Whatever your budget, these tips can help you maximize your gift-giving joy and start the new year with money in the bank.

Pick a number and stick to it

The Dallas Morning News columnist Joelle Allen recommends first setting a maximum dollar amount for all your gift purchases and then dividing it among your recipients. Write your numbers on sticky notes and put them on your wallet, phone case, or computer screen to stay focused.

Do your research

If you’re deciding between makes and models of a certain product, check reviews and ratings online to get the most bang for your buck. If you know what you want, look up prices and possible savings before deciding where to buy. One company may offer 20 percent off plus free shipping if you sign up for emails (you can always unsubscribe later). Amazon even lets you apply credit card points to your order. 

Shop online and early

Stores are designed to entice you to buy more, from the discount items up front to the “doorbuster” sales that encourage competitive shopping. Online shopping is tempting, too, but it’s easier to put down your phone and take a break than it is to walk out of a store and return later. But don’t wait too long — last-minute shipping can cost $20 or more, and it doesn’t always guarantee your gift will arrive on time if there’s bad weather or shipping problems. Buy early to take advantage of slower free shipping deals.

Brave the crowds, if it’s worth it

Black Friday might seem overwhelming, but there are real deals to be had. Get a head start by checking sites like BlackFriday.com to scope out ads from various stores. Keep in mind that some deals aren’t any better than the everyday price, so do your due diligence before standing in line before dawn. Don’t want to leave the house? Just go online on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving and the biggest online shopping day ever.

Get crafty

For super-thrifty gifts, check out the holiday gift tutorials on Pinterest. You can find thousands of ideas — from sugared roasted pecans to superhero coin banks — that require a little time, some common ingredients and craft supplies, and maybe a mason jar.

Change how you give

If buying presents for every aunt, uncle, and cousin is a budget-buster, suggest that you each buy one gift for a name drawing or a party game. About 10 percent of U.S. families take it further. Roughly two million households have dropped out of holiday gift spending altogether.

Find more fun and budget-friendly ideas for easy homemade gifts and Texas-themed presents on our blog and on the Texas Heritage For Living® Pinterest page.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2016 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance