Are you someone who sticks to your budget religiously all year but as soon as the holiday season rolls around it all goes out the window? There are two little words that cause a majority of people to break their budget towards the end of the year, holiday gifts!
Spending more than you plan on holiday gifts often leads to Christmas being a time of stress and worry. According to Investopedia, in 2017 the average American spent $967 on holiday gifts. That’s almost $1000 on gifts!! This number has been on the rise and every year Americans are spending more and more.
One of the most sensible ways to cut back on holiday stress is by cutting back on the number of gifts you buy. It’s time to start shortening your holiday list.
If you’re smart with how you spend your money the season of holiday shopping, Christmas can really be the most joyous time of the year!
Here are the BEST tips that will help you save money on holiday gifts this Christmas.
1| How To Save Money On Holidays Gifts
Let’s face it, saving money during the holidays is hard work. Heck, just trying to keep a positive balance in your checking account during the holidays is hard.
It starts when you start to see the first Christmas decorations appear in stores. The holiday spirit hits you hard and then you go a little bit holiday crazy! It happens to all of us, doesn’t it!
If you want to have a calm, relaxing, joyous holiday season this year, start by cutting back the number of holiday gifts you buy. This will cut down on the amount of money you spend.
The 2 simple tasks below will play a huge factor in achieving your goal and will make this Christmas the BEST Christmas Ever!
Start A Christmas Fund
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for the holidays is set up a Christmas Fund! A Christmas fund is extremely simple to start. It can be as easy as an envelope in your sock drawer labeled CHRISTMAS FUND.
During the months leading up to Christmas, whenever you come across extra cash in your wallet, put it in your Christmas fund envelope. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save with this simple task.
It doesn’t matter if it’s October or March, it’s never too early to start your Christmas fund. Whenever I come across a 10 or 20 dollar bill that doesn’t have a purpose in my budget, I put it in my Christmas fund envelope.
Not being financially prepared for the holidays is a burden. Don’t let this happen to you.
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2| Have A Set Budget For Your Holiday List
Have you ever went grocery shopping without a budget or a list? What was the outcome?
More than likely you came home with a whole bunch of stuff you didn’t need AND you probably forgot a few items that you actually needed. So.. you’ll have to go back to the store AGAIN. Oh, and you probably already went over budget.
Does this situation sound familiar?
Christmas shopping is exactly the same! If you don’t have a BUDGET and a LIST you will buy unnecessary items and spend a lot more than you planned.
So how do we keep this from happening? Does budgeting really work? Yes! Creating a budget and sticking to it will make your Christmas goals a reality!
Christmas Shopping On A Budget:
- Set A Budget. How much do you plan to spend on Christmas gifts? Do you already have money saved for Christmas? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself.
- Make A List And Check It Twice. How many people do you plan to buy a gift for this year? Remember, you’re trying to cut back on gift buying this year. You don’t need to feel obligated to buy everyone and their entire family Christmas gifts. There are millions of other ways to show the people YOU LOVE that you LOVE THEM.
- Calculate Price Per Gift. If you have 20 people on your Christmas list and your budget is $500. You will have $25 to spend on each individual gift. If you can’t buy what you want to buy with $25 that means you will have to cut back on the amount of people you are buying gifts for.
3| Pay With Cash
If you don’t currently pay with cash, most people don’t, this will be your saving grace during the Holidays. Paying with cash is an easy way to control your spending. Being able to physically see money leaving your wallet will allow you to be more conscious of your spending habits.
Do the math.. If you walk into a store to by a holiday gift and you only have $25 dollars to spend on your gift. What does that mean to you?
It means you’ll only have $25 to buy the gift, correct! You have no choice but to only spend $25. That is why I love paying with cash. It keeps you on your toes.
Benefits of paying with cash:
- You won’t spend more then you have in your pockets
- It will help keep debt at bay
- Puts limits on what you buy
- It forces you to live within your means
Related Article: Money Saving Tips: 5 Steps We Took To Save $100K In 5 Years
4| Compare Prices Before Shopping For Holiday Gifts
Have you ever bought something only to find the same item.. at a cheaper price.. at a different store? It happens to us all!!
It’s even worse when you buy something only to return to the same store a few days later and the item is on clearance.
Comparing prices between different stores, before you shop is a huge money saver! That is, if you’re looking to score the best deals. So when it comes to Christmas shopping for holiday gifts, it’s a must!
How to compare prices before shopping:
- Find out which stores hold the product you are looking for. For example if you are looking a baby gift I would check Walmart, Target, and Amazon.
- Find the item online and check the prices at each store. This step will only take a few minutes and is a huge time and money saver. When shopping at stores such as Target and Walmart be aware that prices for the same item can be different depending on whether or not you buy it online versus at the store.
- Once you find out which store has the cheaper price, you know what to do next! Go Buy It!
- If you don’t want to take the time to do the steps above, you can also try using a price checker such as Pricegrabber.
Checking prices before you head to the store can save you $5-20 per Christmas gift. Don’t make the mistake of missing this essential step in your Christmas shopping.
Related Post: How To Have A Debt Free Christmas This Year
5| Shop Sales: The Only Way To Christmas Shop
Everyone has their own opinions on whether or not shopping sales is a good idea.
Outside of the holiday season, I always preach to stay FAR FAR away from sales. When you spot a sale your brain is more than likely going to tell you that you need that item.. when you probably don’t.
A lot of people will see something on sale, and buy it because its on sale, not because they need it.
So how do you shop sales and avoid impulse buying at the same time?
Stick to your holiday list!
Once your holiday list is created, stick to it. Most importantly don’t continue to add people to it. This is when that overwhelming feeling starts to hang over your head.
Look For Sales Throughout The Year
If you want to score some sweet Christmas gifts at a cheap price you need to be looking for sales throughout the year. The holidays is not the only time stores have sales.
In August I noticed that Target was having a sweet deal where Keurig’s were $30 off! Will they have this same deal again this time of year?
They may or may not. Either way it was a great deal.
When you do your Christmas shopping early, it makes the holiday season stress free! Have you ever had your Christmas shopping done before December?
I have and let me tell you, it was AMAZING!
By getting your Christmas shopping done in the months prior to December you avoid all the hustle and bustle at the stores. You’ll miss all the SALES, you know the ones where you aren’t even sure if the price has changed.
Instead you can walk the stores knowing your shopping is done and just take in the holiday spirit around you.
Related Article: 18 Great Christmas Gift Ideas You’ll Love
6| The Best Days To Knock Items Off Your Holiday List
Looking to shop sales? These are a few of the biggest SALE days of the year. If you’re looking for a specific item you’ll want to check out these sales.
Black Friday| Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, due to all the sales. It’s the day after Thanksgiving and the start of the official holiday shopping season. Black Friday isn’t an official holiday but a lot of employers give their workers the day off. Unless you work in retail that is.
Cyber Monday| Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is another HUGE shopping day in the US. Cyber Monday is the following Monday after Black Friday. It’s similar to Black Friday in that there are a lot of huge sales, they’re just online!! Online shopping has become a huge thing over the years, so this event attracts A LOT of customers.
Amazon Prime Day| Are you an Amazon prime member? If so, you should definitely take advantage of Amazon’s biggest global shopping events. This event usually falls in July, a great way to get some of your Christmas shopping out of the way early. If you love online shopping, this sale is for you!
If you’re not an Amazon Prime Member, you should be! Use our link to take advantage of Amazon’s amazing savings and their free two day shipping!
7| Do A Christmas Gift Group Exchange With Family And Friends
We all want to save money during the holiday season or at least stay afloat. Have you ever written out your Christmas shopping list only for it to continue to grow throughout the holiday season?
You usually start with buying gifts for your nieces, nephews, and parents. Then one of your many siblings buys you something which then you return the gesture with buying them a gift. Only to feel bad that you didn’t buy your other siblings a gift, so you do.
This is why you should give Christmas exchanges a try! Instead of buying multiple gifts for say your sister, her husband and kids you buy 1 gift. Or several small ones that will all fit into a small gift basket.
Advantages Of Gift Exchanges:
- You’ll spend less money! Yahooooo
- More than likely you’ll put more thought into the gift, making it more meaningful
- You’ll spend less time buying gifts and more time enjoying the real meaning of Christmas
Gift Exchange Ideas For Next Christmas Party
Having a gift exchange with your family and friends is a great way to GIVE while still being able to stay within budget. If you haven’t attended a gift exchange before, its where you only bring one gift to the party. If you have a big family buying gifts for everyone is beyond overwhelming.
Instead of feeling obligated to buy everyone a gift, you just bring one and exchange.
Here are a few different types of gift exchanges you might enjoy:
Secret Santa| You’ve probably participated in Secret Santa at some point in your life. If you haven’t, it’s super simple. One person per family puts their name on a piece of paper. All the names go into a hat and one person from each family picks one out. The name you picked out stays a secret and you buy a gift for that person.
If everyone can agree on a theme it makes it easier for everyone to buy a gift. For example, game night!! This means your gift will be some sort of game.
Family Gift Basket| Family gift baskets are fun too. Once again, draw names so you know who you’ll be buying for. Then, agree as a family on a price range of say $30. You then have to use that $30 to get a small gift for your sister, her husband and their 2 kids.
You have to get crafty with it! It’s fun and everyone gets a little something.
White Elephant Gift| This game is fun and you only need a small gift to play. Everyone must buy a small gift, under $10. By doing a white elephant gift everyone gets to choose if they want to be apart of the game or not. If someone doesn’t want to give or receive a gift they just don’t buy one.
Grab A Gift| Everyone brings a small $5-$10 gift, wrapped. You set the wrapped gifts in a pile. You can even have the younger kids can do their own grab a gift. With all the gifts in a pile, someone starts a 10 second timer on their phone and when the beeper goes off, everyone dives for the gift they want. Once everyone has a gift, they get to open their gift. Its similar to dirty dice but without the dice.
Gift giving can be affordable, those are just a few tiny examples of how it can be. You can always choose to buy a extra present for your parent, god child, or favorite sibling just remember to keep it in the budget. Gift exchanges take away the pressure of buying a lot of gifts for all of your extended family and friends.
8| The Best Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas
Have you ever given a homemade gift? I love giving homemade gifts! Do you have any hobbies or are you really good at making cookies or caramels? If so, put it to the test! After all who doesn’t love baked goods for the holidays.
When To Give A Homemade Gift
Choosing the right gift for someone can be a hard task. Stick to something you know. I bet your nieces and nephews love your cookies. Whip them up some of their favorite Christmas cookies. You can’t go wrong with sweets.
Types Of Homemade Gifts:
- Anything you can throw together on the sewing machine
Truth be told, kids love homemade gifts, so you can’t go wrong there. If you don’t bake, make something they can hang onto and cherish for a very long time.
9| Shop Second-Hand
Now I’m not talking about wrapping up an old pair of socks you don’t wear and gifting them to your brother.. Although that might be something I would do, it’s probably frowned apon.
There is always a time and a place for second hand gift giving. When you’re living on a budget or trying to save money, this concept could really help you out.
Where to find second hand gift:
- Garage sales
- Thrift stores
You can find a lot of really great second hand gifts if you have the time to search. If you find something you know a family member would love, don’t doubt it based on the fact that its second hand.
This year let’s try and remember to keep gift giving simple and your holiday list short. The holidays are about the act of giving not about the size or quantity of the gifts you give.
How are you planning to save money this holiday season?
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