Shopping on a Budget

As you do your holiday shopping, you may have a hard time sticking to a budget. But there’s many ways to get the perfect gift, without breaking the bank. Alice Wood of Wealth Watchers International says the key is to have a game plan and stick to it.

As you start your holiday shopping, Wood says it can be tempting to overspend but as you get the urge to open your wallet a little wider, think about whether you’ll be regretting it in the New Year.

“It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment,” says Wood. “You really have to stop and think what do you want to face in January when the bills come in. Are you really prepared to overspend? And you really don’t have to do that. People will love you anyways.”

She also recommends paying with cash when possible, because you’re less likely to overspend that way. Local residents have their own ways to try to save money during the holidays.

“I am planning all my purchases before I make them I’m not doing any impulse buys,” says Jessica Vevis, a Chicago resident.

“I do the little envelope system so I put it in my envelopes throughout the year and when the money runs out nobody gets anymore presents,” says Michelle Roof, an Oswego resident.

Wood recommends pricing your list online before you shop to make sure you get the best deal. She says that while sales can be great, they can also be a red flag.

“There’s a saying that you can go broke saving money and there’s a lot of truth,” says Wood.

Remember as you’re trying to get a good deal, it’s also important to shop in your own community.

“I think people underestimate how important the sales tax revenues are to the community,” says Wood. “You’re employing your neighbor.”

Another idea is to give the gift of a memory, a night out to eat, or movie tickets. They’ll appreciate the thought and quality time together.

“There’s so much that can be done as an outing and that’s special and memorable to people,” says Wood

She also recommends doing a grab bag Christmas, so each person only has to buy one gift.

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