This post is sponsored by Regions Bank, Member FDIC.
With one week until Christmas, it is crunch time on buying gifts and doing all the holiday things. It can become overwhelming for women who are carrying the bulk of their family’s holiday mental load to stay on budget and have a holly jolly attitude about it.
I’m sponsored by Regions Bank, member of the FDIC, on this post all about last minute gift savings and holiday shopping tips. In addition, Regions has a financial education brand, Regions Next Step, which offers resources to help you move your life forward towards every financial goal you may have, from holiday spending, to New Year financial resolutions, and much more.
Now be inspired by these five easy ways to shop smart and not overspend during the last weeks of the year.
Buy Only What You Need and Look For What’s On Sale
If you need to do some shopping, make your list, check it twice and don’t over shop. This is easier said than done because retailers want you to buy, buy, buy. They know that with limited time left to shop, they need to lure you in with the best deals. Though Black Friday is billed as the best deals for Christmas shopping, many toys and other items drop in price in December. Take advantage of those sales, but don’t buy extra gifts that are beyond your list and your budget.
With limited time until the holidays, use your time wisely and stick with your budget by shopping online. If you haven’t, sign up for your favorite retailers’ email lists so that you will learn of any sales and receive coupons to use for your shopping. You can also maximize sites like ebates, which will give you cashback every time you shop at thousands of online retailers. You will be more likely to overspend when browsing a retailer in person, so save yourself time and money by shopping online.
DIY Your Gifts
Some of the best gifts I have received are those that are handmade. Don’t hesitate to handmake a gift. From bath bombs to baked goods, the internet is full of simple, handmade gifts that you can create this holiday season. By DIYing your gifts, you can save a lot of money over shopping retail. Moreover, making gifts for people can be a great way to create memories with your children and teach them about being kind and generous. It’s like they always say, “it is better to give than to receive.”
Plan Your Meals in Advance
I know that meal planning is probably not what you would expect on a holiday shopping budget, but when we are stretched too thin because of holiday commitments we are more likely to eat out and not stay on budget for our groceries. So plan your meals in advance, grocery shop for the week, and stick to your plan.
Also, while grocery shopping, stockpile on your family’s favorite items, especially if they are on sale. This will ensure you don’t run out of staples. Shopping store brands and buying in bulk will also help you to save money on your groceries.
Look for Free Holiday Events & Activities
While tickets to a local Christmas musical might be appealing, they can also be expensive. Look for free holiday events in your community to enjoy the season as a family. A few favorites where I live include caroling events, live nativities, and driving around big neighborhoods looking at lights. If you can’t find any events, create one of your own. Invite your neighbors over for cocoa and a viewing of the movie Elf. Make and decorate sugar cookies as a family. Wrap presents with a friend. You’ll create memorable moments with the ones you love and not go over budget.
I hope this list empowers you to save money during these last weeks before the holidays. Be generous within the confines of your budget. You’ve got this!
For more information and tips regarding financial best practices, visit Regions Bank, which has numerous resources and insights to set yourself up for success in the new year and through any of life’s transitions. I especially love their Next Step site, which offers advice, guidance and tools to help you breakdown any of your financial targets into manageable and achievable steps.