Learn how to save money on Christmas gifts and stick to a holiday budget so you can have yourself a Merry Little Debt-Free Christmas.
Guest Post by Kelli Bhattacharjee of Freebie Finding Mom
During the holiday season it’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving and go a little overboard… so, how can you save money on Christmas gifts and stick to your budget?
Glad you asked.
Well, for starters, to stick to a budget you have to have a budget.
Tip: Create a budget now and get used to it before the holiday stressors kick in.
During the holiday season you’re going to feel like there are a lot more “must haves” in your life like gifts for friends, family members, and coworkers, so tweaking your budget and getting comfortable with it now is imperative.
Image by Kelli, Freebie Finding Mom
Once you’ve created a budget stick to it by:
- Reminding yourself what you’re working toward. For example, if you’re saving for your wedding, reflect on that whenever you feel tempted to deviate from your budget.
- Reviewing your progress. Check your spending habits on a regular basis. If you’re not sticking to your budget you’ll realize it quickly and be able to make adjustments. If you are sticking to your budget seeing your progress toward accomplishing your goals may motivate you to keep at it!
- Rewarding yourself for good behavior. When you successfully stay on budget or hit a new savings goal, treat yourself to something small such as a cup of coffee, a new bottle of nail polish, or an iTunes download. (Think $10 or less).
When it comes to the holiday season, save on Christmas gifts and keep your budget intact by following these tips:
Christmas in July
Shop all year… not just during the holiday season. Make a list of all the individuals you need to shop for and a few gift ideas at the start of the year. Then be on the lookout for great deals all year long.
Image by emre nacigil
From the Heart
If you’re looking to save money but still give a gift that will “wow”, you can’t go wrong with a DIY gift. You do not have to be Martha Stewart to create a homemade gift that the receiver will cherish. Here are some ideas to inspire you:
If you need additional inspiration run, don’t walk, to Pinterest!
Do your Homework
Don’t buy the first decent gift you come across. Shop around, do some research, and ask others in order to find the very best gift at the very best price. For example, regularly reading your favorite frugal living blogs, like The Humbled Homemaker and Freebie Finding Mom, can help you find excellent deals like these Non-Junk Stocking Stuffers for Kids: 40+ Ideas to Get You Started.
Image by shho
Make a List… and Check It Twice
Make a list of everyone you need to purchase (or make) a gift for and don’t deviate!
When you make your list also add in a few gift ideas and a budget (price range) for each person. Compare your price ranges with your personal budget to ensure you aren’t going to overspend.
Consider taking out a certain amount of cash for your holiday shopping and using that instead of credit cards. When you’re handing over physical cash, the process of spending money will feel more “real” whereas using credit cards can more easily lead to impulse or over-buying.
Image by Andrew Pons
Whatever you do, do not go into debt. You may feel the need to spend more than you have in order to impress your family or make the holiday feel “special” for your kids but going into debt isn’t the way.
Your family won’t be impressed when you need to borrow money to pay off those credit cards. Your kids won’t feel special when you have to take a second job in order to pay down that debt.
Live within your means.
At the end of the day, remember that the holiday season is not about receiving or giving gifts so much as being together with those you love.
How do you save money during the holiday season?
Kelli Bhattacharjee, the owner of FreebieFindingMom.com, is a former investment professional with nearly ten years of experience. After graduating the top of her class in finance she decided to pursue her passion of empowering others to better manage their money via her savvy financial blog. Discover how to live a frugal yet fabulous life, follow Freebie Finding Mom on Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and You Tube.