Do you do the bulk of your holiday shopping at 4 p.m. on Dec. 24th? Or subscribe to the "one for you, one for me" mentality of shopping? These are just a couple of the questions that will help you define your holiday spending personality. You can take the short quiz here.
Below are the top five spending types. If you can identify with one, or more, then implement the strategies listed below to make the most of your holiday shopping and stretch your dollars further.
You're an over-gifter if you blow the budget you've set, or don't set one at all, and end up not being able to pay for your purchases in full come January. Prevent overspending by knowing exactly how much you have to spend this season. Be real. Know who is top of the list to buy for this year and set your spending plan. To help you stay the course, check out a site like moneystrands.com, where you can plug in your spending plan and receive updates on your spending categories automatically as you spend. When you're creating your list and brainstorming ideas, consider how you can still give, without a lot of money attached. Or, consider doing a secret Santa gift exchange with your workplace, family or friends.
Ah, the self-gifter. I didn't realize this one was so common, but all of the friends I talked to about the quiz instantly owned up to buying for themselves when they should be buying for others. I get it. There are great deals, and you're caught up in the festive spirit, and you inadvertently spend a small fortune on yourself. If you know you are tempted to spend on yourself, seek out a friend to become your shopping accountability buddy who will not let you veer away from your list. Also be sure to set clear timelines for how much time you have to spend shopping. You could also make a deal with yourself that if you collect membership reward points on your card, you can use those rewards to treat yourself in the New Year (just don't rack up your bill for the sake of using those points).
The big ticket gifter
If you like the wow factor and like to throw the bulk of your money into one or two expensive items, start your search online first, where some of the best deals can be found. If you prefer to shop in-store, then starting your search online is still your best bet so you have an idea of what you're looking for, and what the lowest price is.
Before buying at any online retailer around the holidays, be sure to do a quick online search for additional discounts or promo codes. Simply enter the name of the store you are buying from along with the term "coupon" into your search engine. Also, big ticket items are usually the best purchases to maximize your negotiating power.
Whether it is accessories or extended warranties, it's worth the ask. Click here for simple suggestions on how to ask for more with your buy.
The creative gifter
The people who spend time and effort to make one-of-a-kind gifts are my favourite kind of givers. The one downside to this, though, is that creating creative gifts can take a ridiculous amount of time. The key is to look for gift ideas that you can create and duplicate for friends and family without doubling the time it takes to create each gift. For example, a personalized photo book online from a site like snapfish.com or a huge batch of your famous baked goods to divvy up for multiple gifts.
The last-minute gifter
If you're a last-minute gifter, then experiential gifts are your best friend this season. By creating your own gift certificate for an experience, you are able to buy yourself a bit more time researching the best deals. And no need to pre-buy gift certificates, just make your own and explain to your friend that you would like to book the appointment around their schedule. Also, no matter where you live, you are likely within driving distance of a drugstore that offers a selection of items. Create a gift package with a friend or family member's favourite magazine, treats and beauty products. It's a simple and thoughtful way to personalize a gift without having to plan in advance.