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5 holiday shopping tips on a budget.

Every year around the holidays, do you find yourself saying, “I’m not spending as much as I spent last year,” only to end up with a hefty credit card balance you’re stuck paying back for months?

Holiday overspending can really suck the joy out of gift giving. It might seem worth it when your loved ones open your carefully selected gifts (you know them so well), but creating memorable moments shouldn’t come at the expense of your financial well-being.

Check out our tips to help you shop mindfully for the holidays, so you can avoid the financial strain created by post-holiday debt.

Set a holiday budget.

We can’t tell you how much is too much when it comes to the amount you should spend on holiday gifts. That’s up to you! But you can start by building a budget. Ultimately, gift giving shouldn’t leave you in debt or unable to cover your expenses. Simply put, don’t overdo it, and only give what you can reasonably afford.

Tip: If you’re a Capital One customer, you can use Capital One Alerts to set a spending limit on your card so you don’t go overboard.

Normalize DIY gifts.

Do you knit? Enjoy painting? There’s nothing more thoughtful than a homemade gift from the heart. Your loved ones will appreciate the time and effort you put into something you created. It’s personal, and can offer you more control over what you’re spending on each recipient.

Tip: Don’t think you’re talented? A framed photo from your loved one’s social-media feed will show them how creative and thoughtful you are. And it’s cost-effective!

Subscribe to deals.

Whether you start shopping early in the season or find yourself picking up last-minute gifts, subscribing to offers from your favourite retailers can help you stay on budget as you check off everything on your shopping list. Plus, you’ll get advance notice of deals coming up during popular shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Just watch out for those impulse purchases – it’s not a deal if you’re going over budget.

Tip: Give yourself a little extra time to shop so you can do most of it online – some brick-and-mortar retailers like to stock their aisles with attractive “add-ons,” making it harder to avoid impulse buys!

Work together.

If you’re feeling the pressure to spend more than you can afford, consider group gifting. It’s a great way to get that perfect present, even if it’s just outside of your price range.

Have nieces and nephews with expensive tastes? Your extended family can keep costs down by going in on a pricier gift for each child as a group.

What about parents who have everything? Chip in with siblings to purchase an experience like a spa getaway or restaurant gift certificate.

Tip: If you need gift ideas, circulate a spreadsheet among your family or social circle and have everyone write down what they want next to their name. This gives everyone a chance to find gifts for the best possible deal.

Pitch a silly gift exchange.

Sometimes, the fuss of holiday shopping can take away from the meaning of the holidays, which is spending time with your loved ones. A gift exchange (like a Secret Santa) is a great way to have fun while spreading the joy of the holiday season. There are a number of ways to design a gift exchange, but one of the most popular is to have each participant bring a wrapped gift and take turns choosing from the pile.

Tip: Set a low budget and encourage participants to use their creativity!

Want more tips? Learn how to avoid overspending when you’re shopping online.

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