How To Not Overspend on Yourself This Holiday Season

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While shopping for gifts for others, it’s easy to get distracted and start buying things for yourself. And although treating yourself here and there is OK, it can become a problem when gifts for yourself start blowing your holiday budget.

Learn More: 15 Times You Should Splurge, Settle or Skip When Shopping
Read: Wrapping Paper, Greeting Cards and More Holiday Items to Only Buy at Dollar Stores

Here’s how to avoid overspending on yourself this holiday season.

Set a Budget for Self-Gifts

Instead of making impulse purchases for yourself as you shop, plan ahead for any self-gifts.

Find Out: Shopping Mistakes You’re Making and How To Stop

“Many people write out a gift list for loved ones but overlook the need to manage self-gifts,” said Andrea Woroch, a consumer savings and family finance expert. “Maybe there’s something you need for your home or a new beauty item. The holidays are a great time to shop, with many sales and deals out there. Thinking about what you actually need and writing out a list can ensure your purchases are purposeful and not wasteful. Plus, you can track what you buy and spend to ensure you don’t go over budget.”

Make Your Money Work for You

Do the math to figure out how much you can actually afford to spend on yourself before making any of these purchases.

Check Out: 30 Things You Should Never Buy Without a Coupon

“Estimate how much you’re going to spend on gifts for others and subtract bills and other necessities to determine the amount you’re able to gift for yourself,” said Lisa Fischer, chief lending & growth officer at Mission Lane.

Have a Dedicated Payment Account for Personal Shopping

One way to make sure you don’t spend more than you can afford is to only spend money from a specific account dedicated to self-gifting.

Ouch: 50 Purchases Buyers Almost Always Regret

“Open a checking or savings account dedicated to your holiday expenses to more easily manage the amount of money left in your personal shopping budget,” said Clay Stackhouse, regional outreach manager at Navy Federal Credit Union. “This method is also useful because when the account is empty, you have a clear cut-off on your spending.”

Keep Your Receipts

“If you keep track of your holiday spending for your loved ones and for yourself, you can have a better picture of where you stand in your holiday season budget,” Stackhouse said. “Also, if you need to return any of your items, it’ll be much easier to get that money back!”

Make Your Money Work for You

Redeem Rewards

The holidays tend to be a heavy shopping time, so you are likely to rack up more cash back and rewards than usual. Consider shopping for yourself after you’ve finished making purchases for everyone else on your list.

Shopping Tricks: 19 Money-Saving Secrets Target Doesn’t Want You To Know

“Use the cash back you’ve earned on other holiday purchases to allow for a self-gift without putting a ding in your overall holiday shopping budget,” Woroch said. “Make sure the credit [card] you’re using is earning you maximum rewards by opting into any bonus offers. And always use a cash-back app or tool to earn more back.”

Your rewards will go even further if you wait until after the holidays to buy gifts for yourself.

Discover: How to Get Ahead on Budgeting for Holiday Shopping (and Shipping) in Advance

“Sales are often better then and eBay is flooded with new posts from people who got gifts they don’t want,” said Lyle David Solomon, a bankruptcy attorney at Oak View Law Group. “You can usually get what you wanted at an even better price after the holidays.”

Make Your Money Work for You

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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