When you are holiday shopping on a budget, using prepaid cards is the best way to stay in control. The joy of giving and the holiday spirit can sometimes make you financially overextend yourself as you get caught up in the thought of seeing the faces of your loved ones as they open their gifts. When you overextend yourself like that, you start the year off in debt. Allow me to illustrate an example that just might sound familiar:
It is holiday shopping time. You make a list of who you need to buy gifts for, bundle up, and head out to endure the mayhem at the mall. For it to be “the most wonderful time of the year”, it does not feel so wonderful as people are fighting for parking spots and not being so nice about it. After you finally find a place to park, you step into the mall and it looks like everyone is trying to run everyone else over. You go to into the first store and it’s a circus. After about a half hour of trying to find the right size shirt, you now have to get into the checkout line that wraps through the entire store. The person behind you does not know the meaning of personal space, so they are literally on your heels.
Once you get to the register, feeling accomplished, you are told that the shirt was on the wrong rack and the price is not really what you thought it was. But, because you went through so much to get it, you decide to buy it anyway. You walk out of that store and realize that you still have 10 stores to go. (What a headache!) You shop for hours picking up things because they are cute and buying things that were not on your list. Five hours later, you have completed your holiday shopping list and are ready to go home and relax. When you look at your receipts and start adding up what you have spent, it is clear that you have gone way over budget. You decide to deal with it later and worry about it in January when the bills come.
This is not a good practice. There is a much better way. Your financial situation would be much better now and in January if you had used a prepaid card to do your holiday shopping. With this solution, you are zoned in to your spending and it cannot get out of control. You could also shop online in your pajamas while sipping hot chocolate, and feel good because you know you are not blowing your budget. There are so many great deals to be had online.