Having a budget-friendly Christmas can be a challenge during the holidays. Saving money and keeping within your spending limit will lessen your financial stress for the upcoming New Year. Here are 10 awesome tips for having Christmas on a budget.
1. Set a budget…and stick to it: Let’s face it–in the rush of the holidays, it is easy to lose track of what you’ve spent for Christmas. Credit cards with high limits leave the spending ceiling almost limitless for the holidays. Write a list of all the people you will give presents to for Christmas. Then place a dollar value next to each name for how much you plan to spend. When you think your present shopping through, you are more in control of your spending urges because you already have a plan. Don’t know if you can resist the urge to overspend with your charge card? Pay everything in cash.
2. Save on Christmas wrapping: Use brown paper bags, butcher paper, old comics, and bulk tissue paper. I recently received a shipment with a very small item in a huge box filled with brown butcher paper as stuffing. I happen to like the crinkled look of the paper. It has a natural, rustic look and will go well with some of my home made gifts. To spruce it up, you may opt to use rubber stamps as a means of decorating, or you may top it off with natural-looking raffia.
3. Make your gifts:Need I say more? I love to peruse the aisles of my local craft store for ideas of quick and simple gifts which will show a bit of my personal touch while not taking a lot of time.
4. Family gift pool: This may be especially helpful for large families. Rather than buying a gift for everyone in the family (and breaking the family budget,) everyone may draw the name of one family member to buy for. Be sure to set a dollar amount so each family member will be treated equally. Also be sure that children who draw names are helped with their gift giving by an adult.
5. Shop for the bargains: I guess this is an acquired skill for some. Browse the papers and the internet for great bargains.
6. Find free activities to do with family:Make a snowman, go tubing, drive through drive through various neighborhoods to see the Christmas lights. Also check your papers for local listings of free Christmas performances or activities offered by stores, malls and by communities. Christmassing doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
7. Find discounted items: I notice that a lot of places around here are offering additional gift cards when you buy one of a certain value. Fast food places also sell value books that make great stocking stuffers. Also look for discounts on tickets for plays, movies, etc. You may want to ask someone to partner with you to get a bulk discount. There are also discounts for students, seniors, military and members of a variety of associations. Now is the time to really utilize that club discount. (:
8. Bargain shop online: I love sites which compare the price of my items among several distributors. I feel that I can make an adequate assessment of the true value of the item. Of course, if you’re shopping online, be sure to check for shipping costs which may catapult that great bargain into an overly-priced monster. Also check to see that delivery dates will allow your items to be delivered before Christmas.
9. Bake:There’s something about home made baked goods who’s priceless ability to invoke drooling exceeds that of any store bought item. Don’t have a lot of time? Buy pre-made dough or pies. Put it in the oven and deliver fresh. No one can turn down a good, yummy, fresh-from-the-oven baked good from your heart.
10. Gift a Service: A book of IOU coupons for service items like: 2 hours of babysitting, 1 car wash, 1 nail painting session, 1 dinner, etc. However, as most people are shy about collecting on IOUs, be sure to remind the recipient of their special gifts.
Saving money during the Christmas holidays can be a challenge. With proper planning, this budget-friendly Christmas may give relief to you throughout the upcoming New Year.
Merry Christmas, My Sweet Friend!