Its that time of the year again! The time of celebration and cherishment of togetherness in every household. Needless to say, its also the time for the endless shopping gala. While it’s exciting to pick out and present gifts to your loved ones, it can also be a budget-straining experience, or even one that lands the spender dealing with debt well into the new year (or longer).
It’s one thing to splurge around the festive season and another thing to go broke. In order to counteract the feeling of getting overwhelmed, that one usually feels while shopping, it is possible to get your holiday shopping done without spending more than you want or ending up in credit card debt.
Hooked on to know more? Read on these tips to know more.
Create a festive shopping budget - Of course, this had to be on the top of the list. Because, this is the most common mistake, that people usually do while shopping (be it online and offline). Given the onset of technology, discounts and comfort, many folks resort to online shopping rather than offline, because it saves you tons of time and cash. The first thing that you have to do is, set aside some time and analyze your budget end to end. I know it’s tempting to get into the spree of chipping out money, but the point is, in this step, you need to carefully validate yourself to see how much money you can allocate to holiday purchases this year.
Then make a list of everything you need to buy. Make sure that you include every minute detail. Every penny needs to be calculated. If you find that you don’t have enough money in your festive budget to cover everything on the list, consider cutting back on some expenses this month. I am not telling you to cut back on basic needs. For example, if you’re someone who has the habit of eating out every week (1000*4 = 4000 INR), you can save an average of 4K INR for that particular month by making delicious home cooked meal on your own.
Track your expenses
You need to be smart here. Having a budget is half the battle won. Track your expenses and try to stick to your budget. Sticking to your budget requires utmost discipline. Let’s face it, temptations are more salivating than happiness.
Every time you overshoot a budget, it should act as a red flag. If you are spending more than your budget in a certain category, you have to cut down on something else. You can overshoot your budget, but only some. If you overspend a lot more it will mean trouble. The point is, even if you are splurging during this season, it should be guilt free and you shouldn’t be robbed out of happiness.
Halt buying on credit
Personally, I am someone who is strictly against buying stuff on credit. More than me having to explain it, I think the peeps who are closer to me would resonate what I just said now. The reason is quite simple. I follow one principle “Resort to buying only if you need it rather than desire”. Contrary to what I just said, credit card is not an evil invention. I do believe and understand that the card offers tons of cashbacks, discounts, reward points and what not. Every time you buy a gadget on EMI, like a mobile phone or a smart TV, this gets added up to your credit card bill. Now there are tons of buy now, pay later options. There are no cost EMIs, interest free credit up to a certain period and so on.
Plus getting such credit is very easy, it takes almost no time and zero paperwork to get the things that you like. Buying on credit is fine, but ask yourself if you can meet your financial adherence going forward. How much will you pay each month on EMI? Will such purchases put a strain on your finances? Are you paying a very high rate of interest? Ask yourself all these questions and have a stringent answer, before making a purchase. You need to think through if you can pay these EMIs on time. There is nothing worse than being slapped by fines or very high interest rates. At the end of the day, your purchases shouldn’t strangle you. This is exactly where most of us regret making high end purchases.
Avoid Discounts Frenzy
Tell me if this sounds relatable. Than any other month of the year, it is precisely from Oct – Dec of every year, that you get to see notifications popping up on your device, wherein online retailers talk about offering lavish discounts of close to 70 to 80%, BUY 2 GET 1, BUY 3 GET 2, Season Sale days etc. I was also a consumer of this, until I realized the downside of this concept. The bright side is, you get amazing deals and there are studies that show that seeing that bright red sale sign, gives you that rush equating to a drug. It is that intoxicating. The dark side is people fail to question the intentions of these dealers. Not all the products that you see on deals are authentic. For a 1 lakh INR device, a retailer was giving a discount of 60% and was charging only 49.9K INR, when the MRP on store was close to 1.2 lakhs INR (including accessories). Now ask yourself this question, why would someone put a huge discount on a high-end device that is still selling double the amount in the international market? If somebody is offering you a 70 per cent discount, there has to be a caveat. Either the price is inflated or the product may not be of the genuine quality.
This is exactly the logic of sale. Don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying, that I don’t buy anything out of sale days, but now, I have tried to be a lot wiser in my decisions. For big ticket purchases, I prefer to shop them on normal days rather than sale days. In that way, I have personally seen the authenticity of the products, even though I had to chip in a couple thousands extra. Also, you can find lots of unboxing videos on YouTube, Instagram etc. and more importantly, read the reviews of people who bought these products during sale time.
Gift your time
I truly believe in the fact that if you want to gift someone something valuable, then gift them your time. Time is indeed precious and priceless.
After all, festive time is the celebration of togetherness and given the uncertainty wave that we have been hit by the pandemic in recent times, we truly have no clue as to how long we can say our Hellos and Goodbyes. It is with a blink of an eye, that a moment becomes a memory. So, instead of fretting and brooding over materialistic pleasures, spend time with your loved ones guilt free.
Creation of Personalized gifts
A sweet and a thoughtful gift can never equate to an expensive gift that someone may never use. In this case, a handwritten note or a sewed piece of cloth that you have created from scratch can bring in smiles more than anything else in the world. They will always hold a special place in the person’s heart.
And that’s it guys!
The spirit of generosity during the festive season can be contagious, but you really don’t have to purchase presents for everyone you know, or spend as much as others do on gifts. The bottom line is, avoid giving yourself a year-round debt headache and celebrate each occasion with your loved one with utmost love and compassion.