Every year, millions of people across the globe get panicked about how to save money for Christmas gifts. It adds a layer of stress that has caused many families to rethink traditional gift-giving completely.
Luckily, you can take steps starting right now to ensure that Christmas shopping never again robs you of holiday cheer. In the following article, we’ll be discussing what those steps are. So put down the eggnog and let’s start tearing open some tips.
1. Know Your Limits
Before you can come up with a Christmas saving plan to solve all your problems, you’ve got to have a spending plan in place. How much are you going to spend on each person you plan to buy presents for? And how many are there altogether?
Come up with a gross number and account for sales taxes. Then, factor in any traveling you’ll be doing over the holidays. After all, traveling is part of the unplanned expenses the holidays heap onto us.
Last but not least, make room for meals and experiences. Once you have a final number, go back over it line-by-line. What can you cut out or scale back relative to your income and abilities?
Settle on a final number. That’ll be important as we move further along.
2. Team Up
Who all do you exchange with? Do you have a significant other who always likes to defy the spending boundaries to bring you a little extra holiday cheer? Tell them to cut it out!
If you’re planning for Christmas expenses, you can’t afford to have any surprises. The best way to do that is to agree on a hard number and not exceed it. Christmas isn’t the time to feel guilty that you didn’t get someone something as good as what they got you.
3. Take Advantage of Holiday Deals
Fortunately, there are all kinds of Christmas sales and holiday gift guide ideas that can help you land the perfect gift for the people in your life at a price that’s usually less-than-retail. Stores like to move a lot of product during the holidays because they’ve spent the whole year breaking even.
Everything they get from Black Friday to January is considered profit. As a result, they can afford to cut a little deeper on the suggested retail price. You benefit by either paying less for more or pocketing the difference.
4. Consolidate Your Shopping
As families grow larger, it becomes very difficult to continue buying for everyone. Even if you spend $20 a person, eight grandkids, four kids, a spouse, siblings, nephews, nieces, and cousins, can turn Christmas into a $1,000-or-more expense.
Work around the growing numbers by consolidating your shopping as much as possible. That might mean playing Dirty Santa with extended family and contributing only one gift per person in your household. It also might mean cutting out presents altogether and simply having a feast instead (one dish per person)!
Your Christmas saving plans will get a big boost when you find new ways of celebrating the holiday that isn’t so gift-centered. Of course, you’ll need buy-in from everyone else.
5. Annualize Spending Into Your Budget ASAP
Remember that number you came up with in our first tip? Well, it’s time to open your Christmas savings account, and that’s the number you want to amass by the next shopping season.
It’s a lot easier to do it when you annualize the number by pay period. If you spend $1,000 every Christmas, then you’ll need to save $100 a month, January through October.
Getting paid every other week means $50 per pay period. Every week, $25. Set up automatic deductions to cover those amounts, and start on next year immediately after this year’s over so it doesn’t sneak up on you.
6. Make Presents When Appropriate
Another way to save at Christmas without getting rid of gifts altogether is to actually make your gifts for one another. These can hold a lot of sentimental value the more creativity and effort you put into them.
7. Shop Used
Now, Christmas can be done on a budget when you commit to buying used instead of new. Thankfully, there are thrift shops and retail stores that have used merchandise sections to help those with lesser funds still enjoy the holiday season.
If you have any hangups about this, you don’t even have to let the other person know that you bought something used. You can have thrift store clothes laundered and boxed before wrapping them up. Or you can cellophane-wrap used Blu-ray discs and the recipient will be none the wiser.
To do this right, you’ll want to make sure the products you buy are in tip-top shape, to begin with. And it could be a gamble if the product is for some reason defective. But it can be a great method of buying a quality gift without breaking the bank.
8. Give Your Time
The spirit of the season is about giving, not receiving. It never hurts to have that reminder.
And one way to do it is to give your time to a charitable cause of some kind. Help a nonprofit with an event to feed the homeless or give presents to needy children.
Cook a meal. Share a visit with someone at a nursing home. There are dozens of ways you can reach out and be there for someone without spending a single dollar.
Some families even decide to do this in lieu of presents. If everyone’s onboard, you can save a lot of money on your overall spending.
9. Add Income
Last but not least, you can save more money for Christmas if you make more money. And that’s not quite as hard as you may be thinking when you consider seasonal part-time work opportunities or side hustles that you can do outside of normal working hours.
Also, some employers offer more overtime during the holidays. If yours does, watch for when those offers are made and sign up for them. Or, go to your supervisor right away and express an interest.
These Tips Will Help You Save Money for Christmas Gifts Every Year
To save money for Christmas gifts, you need to come at things from more than one angle. Cut gifts where you can, scale back on purchase amounts if it’s agreeable, take advantage of “time” gifts instead, and see how you can earn more with your time.
Best of luck as you navigate the holidays. And for more financial tips, check out some of our other related posts.