It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn to holiday giving.
Unfortunately for many, this is also the time when we blow up our budget trying to get everyone the right gift.
You can still enjoy the spirit of giving if you use these 21 Christmas budgeting tips.
Remember, it’s never too late to start planning for the holiday.
1. Decide Your Maximum Budget
The first thing you should do is determine how much you plan to spend for the holiday.
You should include the cost of gifts, parties, decorations, and meals when establishing your budget.
Once you have done this, make sure you determine what percentage of your overall budget you will use for each category.
2. Holiday Party Budget Savers
Before you are asked to attend a holiday party, offer to host one yourself.
Instead of spending a lot of money, set it up as a pot luck with a gift swap.
This way, every person brings a single gift, and everyone gets to participate without feeling guilty.
3. Budget Friendly Gift Card Offers
Gift cards can be a great alternative to expensive presents and they allow the recipient to get whatever they want.
Rather than paying full price for a gift card, check out some of the sites available for discounts on these cards.
Some of these sites include:
4. Take Advantage of Price Trackers
Black Friday sales, online shopping offers, and Cyber Monday deals can be sweeter when you make sure you’re paying as little as possible.
Use these price trackers to find the best deals on the items you are shopping for!
5. Use Your Online Shopping Carts Wisely
You may not be aware of it but when you put items into an online shopping cart, the site tracks these items.
Oftentimes, if you have abandoned items in an online shopping cart, and you’ve registered with the site, you could get an incentive like free shipping, or be offered a promotional code to get you to purchase the items you’ve placed in the cart.
6. Cash Back When You Spend
While you should try to pay cash for your holiday purchases, there may be times when it makes sense to use your credit card. If you use a card that offers cash back, you could be earning money for every dollar you spend.
If you have a cash back credit card, consider using the card for your purchases. Make sure you pay your bill in full, so you do not incur interest charges which would eliminate the cash back.
7. Online Cash Back and Rebates Offers
You can make your holiday dollars go further than ever by taking advantage of sites that reward you for your spending or offer rebates.
Some of the best sites to find coupons, earn cash back, and keep up with rebates are:
These sites can help you increase your Christmas budget whether you are shopping for food, clothing, or gift items.
It’s the thought that counts….In many cases, the thought is “Cool, I should buy that!” 💸
One study shows that about 20 percent of holiday gifts this seasons are expected to be impulse buy. 🎁🤯
Don’t get manipulated by the holiday season! pic.twitter.com/DbfRDLDXpN
— Get Out of Debt (@getoutofdebtcom) November 28, 2018
8. Buy an Item Get Something Free
In some instances, a retailer may be offering BOGO (buy one get one) items.
You should take advantage of these specials, or a special that offers buy one and get one at half price.
Make sure before you purchase these items you are getting a good deal. If you are getting a good deal, you could get two gifts for the price of one.
9. Find the Best Available Price
It pays to find the best price for something you were going to purchase anyway.
Whether you are comparison shopping on your own by reviewing sales flyers, online websites, or scouring social media for discounts, you can get a great deal if you know how to comparison shop.
There are several options for comparison shopping including:
10. Ebay, Thrift Shops and More
If someone on your gift list is a collector, there are many options for finding low-cost gifts.
Whether someone collects post cards, tea cups, or clocks you can find great gifts for far less money than purchasing items at a retail store. Many thrift stores have treasure troves of items which you can give with complete confidence.
11. Group Purchases Save Money
If you are making a purchase that is going to be expensive, think about getting another family member to share the cost. Any gift you opt to give can come from more than one person.
This option can help you stick to your Christmas budget while still providing a nice gift for a loved one.
12. Save on Holiday Cards — Go Electronic
Holiday card sharing can be expensive. Once you purchase cards, you still need to purchase postage to mail them.
Instead of spending money from your Christmas budget on holiday cards, consider using an electronic card instead. Not only can you use these sites free to send as many cards as you want, you can also use them to send thank you cards for gifts you may receive.
One of the advantages of these sites is you can create a single card, or multiple cards.
They are also great when you get a card from someone you didn’t expect one from, you can simply email a card in return.
13. Homemade Gifts are a Hit
For those who have a knack for crafts, this is a good time to put them to use.
Just keep in mind the cost of the material you are using, in some instances, it may be cheaper to buy an item than it is to make the item.
Even those who are not crafty can still give homemade gifts. Bake a batch of fancy cupcakes, make candy from scratch, or bake cookies and give them as gifts.
You can purchase low-cost gift bags from your local store, or you can purchase treat bags in bulk from various online sources.
14. Consider Regifting Options
We all have them — the items hanging around in drawers and closets from prior holidays and events which we never use.
If these are new items which you received, consider finding a suitable home for them. This will accomplish two things, you free up space and you can give a gift that costs you nothing.
15. Gift of History
If you have family members who are a lot younger than you, consider gifting your family history.
You can create a family tree, share family stories, and share information that other family members may not be aware of in a simple notebook.
This type of gift may be ideal for that family member who is difficult to buy for because they have everything, or because you are simply uncertain what they would enjoy.
16. Gift of Yourself
There are gifts you can give to family members that cost little more than your time. You can create simple “certificates” on your home computer and offer your time in various ways.
Some of these include offering to take a family member on a shopping trip, babysitting for a young family who may not be able to afford a sitter and a night out, or preparing a meal for a single family member.
17. Effective Use of Sale Items
When you see items on sale, consider whether they would be a good fit for a gift.
Examples of items you may find on sale include hat and glove sets, cologne, small household appliances and more.
You can save a lot of money if you purchase these items when they are on sale, particularly if you can purchase them on sale for more than one person on your gift list.
18. Don’t Ignore Dollar Store Deals
Many of us tend to ignore the dollar stores when shopping for gifts, but this could be a mistake. You can create some great holiday gifts by taking advantage of items you find in the dollar store.
Some examples include:
- Food basket — dollar stores are often treasure troves of unusual foods including jams, cookies and candy. Consider designing a food basket using a theme as a gift. You could purchase pasta, sauces, and breadsticks and gift an “Italian dinner” at a very low cost. You could even purchase paper products like napkins and table covers to go with the item.
- Personal products basket — assemble a gift basket on your own by purchasing bath poufs, bubble baths or oils, and moisturizers for those ladies on your gift list. For the men on your list, a combination of shaving cream and disposable razors can be a fun gift. Toss in a handful of hard candies to make the basket more festive making sure they are sealed before doing so.
- Kids fun gift — for a small amount of money you can fill a basket or gift bag with items that will entertain a child. Colored pencils, crayons, markers, coloring books and safety scissors make a fun gift they will enjoy long after the holidays are over. You can create these baskets as big or as small as you would like while still sticking to a budget.
- Kitchen basket — this is a great idea for someone who has recently purchased a home, a newlywed, or a young person who will be getting a new apartment. Stock up on those items no one ever thinks about like kitchen towels, measuring cups and spoons, and spices. You can get several items for one dollar each and make the gift look great.
Don’t be afraid to use your imagination when creating customized gift bags or boxes.
You can use baskets you have at home, or you can purchase a basket, gift bag, or even a bucket at the dollar store to stow all the items in.
It doesn’t take much to manage your #finances even on a tight #budget. Check out these tips on saving #money: https://t.co/P2jwXdkDxo#debtfree #getoutofdebt #moneymatters #moneymoves pic.twitter.com/YkKJqt07j4
— Get Out of Debt (@getoutofdebtcom) May 23, 2018
19. Consider Yankee Swaps Instead of Individual Gifts
If there are not a lot of children you are buying for, consider setting up a Yankee Swap. Not only will this help you meet your Christmas budgeting targets, it can also provide a lot of entertainment for those involved.
Make sure to set a dollar amount on gifts. Keep in mind, you can also specify a theme — for example, everyone brings a favorite food, something warm, etc. remember, this is supposed to be fun!
20. Save on Decorating for Christmas
Another common Christmas budgeting challenge is decorating for the holidays.
Instead of stressing out over how much money decorations cost, consider repurposing household items for decorations or making your own.
- Wine bottles can be turned into festive candle holders with the use of a bit of glue and glitter which can be purchased at most dollar stores.
- A wreath can be designed from a cheap bag of bows you purchase at any dollar store.
- Create ornaments from gingerbread cookies which you can bake yourself.
- Create a tabletop tree from an old magazine by learning the art of folding.
Remember to take advantage of after Christmas sales to stock up on holiday decorations if you are not up to doing this annually!
21. Gift Wrapping on a Christmas Budget
Most of us feel that wrapping paper is a waste of money. However, there are inexpensive ways to wrap gifts that you may not have considered.
Visit your local dollar store and see if you can find rolls of plain brown or white paper and decorate them yourself. You can also consider purchasing disposable table cloths and cut them to use as wrapping paper.
These are often more cost-effective methods of wrapping gifts.
Remember, children generally do not care what their gifts are wrapped in so consider saving the comic portion of your weekly newspaper and using that for wrapping paper.
It is possible to enjoy the Christmas season without going into debt.
You can use some of these Christmas budgeting tips, or you can use all of them and save money for the new year.
The holidays should not be about taking on more debt and with these simple Christmas budgeting tips, you can save money on your holiday giving, decorating, and partying.