JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – The calendar has officially been flipped to December, and people will be looking to purchase last-minute Christmas gifts.
According to a report by Gallup, Americans are predicted to spend an average of $923 on gifts this year. That’s $10 less than a year ago but nearly $90 more than in 2021.
Ash Pulliam, a financial advisor for Sharp Financial Services, Inc., said there are three top tips for saving money on Christmas shopping. You should ensure you have a budget, create some padding for unexpected overages, and be careful with credit card usage.
Along with starting your shopping as early as possible, Pulliam said you should look at your spending patterns.
“Get one of your monthly statements from the bank and just write down every expense you had for that month,” he said.
Pullam said this will help you determine what expenses you may need to cut back on in order to meet your spending goals.
If you’re starting your shopping later than you wanted to, Matthew Kraus, a financial advisor at Edward Jones Investments, said your setbacks this year could help you plan for next Christmas.
He said you can map out the number of weeks until the goal and calculate your spending allowances based on the time you have available. This will help you determine if you need to save $20 or $10 a week, for example.
Kraus also said your goals should be as detailed as possible, and you should take pen to paper.
“Write down the names, write down how much you want to spend, and target specifically what you want to buy from them,” he said.
While shopping can be stressful, Kraus said it can also be beneficial to reward yourself. After you reach your saving goals each week, reward yourself with something small.
“You can do something as simple as this week if you can save an extra 20 or 50 bucks, you can have an ice cream cone,” he said.
Pulliam said it’s always good to take your time comparing prices, whether you’re shopping online or in a store. While one store may have a deal, another store could have a better one for the item you need.
More than anything, Kraus encouraged everyone not to make the holidays all about the gifts.
“I think there’s something about the heart and the fact you’re trying to give the best you can, but don’t stress,” he said. “At the end of the day, if you’re planning it out and doing all this stuff, it’s pretty obvious that you love them.”
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