Balancing Money – Christmas
This time of the year is TOUGH for everyone. A lot of people I have talked to say that they are cutting back a lot on spending money on Christmas gifts and hey . . . I can’t blame them!
There are many holiday saving tips out there but I noticed that most of them cater to different types of shoppers with different amounts of money in different types of situations. I think that everyone should have a strategy that works best for THEM.
Here are my tips for saving money on holiday shopping.
#1 GET ORGANIZED – there are MANY reasons why I always have a small notebook on hand and Christmas is one of them. I create a list of names of people that I know I am buying for. Throughout the year if they mention something they like or a hobby they are getting into, I write it down. This way, I always have an idea for that person and can keep my eye out for deals way before hand.
#2 MINIMIZE GIFTING yes, this one kinda sucks but Christmas is tough on everyone. Organize a secret santa, or gift swap so that everyone is able to get ONE nice gift for each other rather than spending money on everyone. In my family, everyone who is 18 and over gets put into a hat where we pick a name on Thanksgiving. Whoever we get is the only person we buy a gift for. Its been working out well!
#3 SET A BUDGET Once you know everyone you are getting for, set a spending limit for each person. Put the cash in an envelope and work from there. This minimizes mindless spending and gives you a challenge to hunt for quality gifts on sale.
#4 SAVE EARLY start putting a little bit of money away each month for Christmas. Most banks have a Christmas club which takes money out of your checking each month that becomes available to you once shopping season hits. I worked 3 jobs at the beginning of this year and I made SURE that I put a lot of this money in an envelope for the end of the year. Because of this, I was able to have just enough money for gifts AND enough for the random expenses that come up at the end of the year such as AAA, new contact lenses, vehicle registration ect. The worst feeling is coming up to December wondering how you are going to finance it all.
#5 PLAN YOUR TRIP I don’t know about you, but I hate crowds. So when I shop for gifts, I make sure that I am going out during off peak hours late at night or earlier in the morning. Most places have later holiday hours so take advantage! Another great tip is to use your time and gas money wisely. For example, I go to school in NYC so I have plenty of stores available to me. I can take an earlier train and use this time to shop since I’m going there anyway. This can work for people who pass certain stores on the way to work or even work a little bit of shopping into your normal errands each time.
#6 HANDMADE GIFTS never underestimate the power of handmade gifts. If you know how to knit, bake, scrap or are just crafty in general, you are half way there to make amazing personal gifts for someone without breaking the bank. If you are looking for ideas, Heather has started Handmade Christmas 2010 where she is giving only things she made herself, check out all of the wonderful ideas from her and other bloggers.
I want to hear YOUR best tips for saving during the holidays. Hit up the comments!