ED Note: The holiday season is almost upon us, and joining the millions of shoppers this year will be teens purchasing gifts on their own for the first time. Scott Gamm, youth and family finance advisor for H&R Block Dollars & Sense, offers the following tips for teens buying gifts for their loved ones on a very limited budget:
- 1. Take advantage of seasonal work. The holidays are ripe with temporary jobs, whether it’s gift-wrapping at the mall or helping your local electronics store stock the shelves amid the increased holiday traffic.
2. Get the best deal possible. Before buying a gift, use your smartphone with apps like ShopSavvy or Amazon to make sure it isn’t less expensive elsewhere — if so, see if the store will match the price.
3. Have a plan. Write out a list of who you need to get a gift for and how much you can pay for each to avoid overspending, and stick to it.
4. Shop with cash. A great way to keep your budget intact during the holidays is to shop with cash. You always know just how much you have, and actually removing something from your wallet, as opposed to swiping a debit card, limits mindless spending.
5. Keep receipts for future savings. Keep receipts for your gifts in case the price of the item drops or it goes on sale after you buy it. Many stores will give a price adjustment within two weeks of making the purchase.
6. Take advantage of Cyber Monday. The Monday after Thanksgiving tends to be the busiest online shopping day of the year. From free shipping to double-digit markdowns online, you’re bound to find the perfect gift for a bargain — and you get to skip the long lines.