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Last-minute tips to stay on budget during the holiday season

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Hopefully, by this point, you have knocked your Christmas shopping out of the way. For those of you who will be pushing it to the limit to get shopping done, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Just because you’re busting down the doors as time ticks away, doesn’t mean you have to blow a whole paycheck to get it done. Here are a few ways to spread holiday cheer on a budget.

Make a list, check it twice

Write a list of every person you would like to purchase gifts for. Then write down all holiday expenses such as travel and bills to see how much you are able to comfortably spend on gifts. As an example, if your budget allocates $300 for gifts for eight people. Plan to spend $25 per gift which gives you a small buffer in case a few run over.

Use cash

Mahogany Albritton, founder of Deal Duchess says, “Go to the bank/ATM and withdraw cash! This is the easiest way to keep track of purchases and stay within your budget. When we go swipe crazy, we often lose track and overspend.” Using cash helps you bestow gifts of awesomeness within your budget.


Reduce your stress by planning your trips. More often than not, you won’t be able to get all of your gifts from the same store. Use your list to map out a strategy to get the shopping done in the most time-efficient way. Begin with the items that are most likely to be in limited quantity first, then work your way from there.


With four shopping days left until Santa scoots down the chimney, running from pillar to post will not be productive; you’ll be wasting time and money on gas. Choosing stores that have wider selections almost guarantees success. This way, even if a particular item is sold out, there will be a plethora of other options to choose from.

When in doubt, gift card!

Who doesn’t love a gift card? Of course, this gift is more general, but running into a major retailer or grocery store, you will find a diverse offering of gifts cards from clothing stores to restaurants. They usually allow you to load the amount you want, which definitely helps you remain within budget. So grab a handful and load them up with $25 or $50 and tuck them in Christmas cards!

Within limits

Before stepping foot in a store, know exactly how much you are willing to spend. Don’t deviate much beyond this number. Try to avoid overspending on a single gift to make sure there is enough to go around.


I’ve found that gag gifts are not only less expensive than other gifts, but they really add to the holiday spirit. The “As Seen On TV” section is chockful of funny whatnots that your gift recipients will get a kick out of. Gag gifts may work out better than the same tired sweater/sock/tie gifts that are given year after year.

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Shop competitively with major stores like Target and Wal-Mart that allow you to purchase online and pick-up in the store. You will be able to find the better price, along with making adjustments for gifts that are sold out doing so from home or work, instead of under pressure standing in the store.

Good luck on your Christmas shopping on a budget endeavors.