Be a Calculated Gift Giver this Holiday Season

December 06, 2013

Be a Calculated Gift Giver this Holiday Season

With careful planning,consumers can make the most of their holidays without straining their budgets.Better Business Bureau is encouraging consumers to be “calculated gift givers”this holiday season. Here are five tips to help you be more calculated in yourholiday planning:

#1 Become an expert on big ticket items

If you are considering a high-dollar purchasefor a loved one, it’s important to become an “expert” on the item. This willallow you to make the best decision regarding cost and quality of the product.Maybe one product is made with higher quality materials, or maybe it offers anextra warranty. Whatever the case, you can make the best decision by doing thorough research into the product and its different models.

#2 Give gifts that provide a return

A calculated gift giver understands that gifts should provide a return. In some cases, this return is just the enjoyment of the recipient, but it could be a financial return. Perhaps you can give gifts that help friends and family make money through a side job or hobby. You could also provide younger family members with financial gifts, such as a contribution to a college fund.

#3 Use reward points and online shopping

Look for unique opportunities to save on items.This means regularly checking online for sales and deals and making the most of any rewards points you have accrued. Rewards points, in particular, are a great way to fund gifts, as they aren't really “costing” you. Read the fine print andmake sure such gifts are transferable and, if needed, returnable.

#4 Create a holiday budget

You don’t want to let your holiday spending getaway from you, so it’s important to develop a plan and a firm budget. Use this budget to see how much you should be spending on gifts this year. Make your list, check it twice, and try not to overspend.

#5 Start early

The earlier you start your holiday planning, the better. When consumers are short on time, they have less flexibility and can’t shop around as much.Look for deals early in the shopping season. Be sure to ask if gifts purchased ahead can be returned if they don’t work for the recipient.