Christmas is coming, and while this brings a lot of joy and family it can also bring stress with the financial burden of picking up gifts and dinners for everyone. In today’s market, with so many having been impacted by the recent recession, it can seem like a worry – but it doesn’t have to be.
Christmas is meant to be a time of joy, a celebration of family and Christianity and seeing people you might not see year round. Yes, gifts are a part of this, but those gifts can come in several different forms and do not have to break the bank!
This article is going to overview several tips to saving money around the Christmas season. We want you to be able to enjoy your holiday, not stress your way through it!
- List who you need to buy for, what you need to buy
A major part of saving money around Christmas is staying organized. Make a list of who you need to buy for, the potential budgets you have in mind, and what items have already been purchased. This will prevent duplicate purchasing for the same person, will give you an idea of how much you’re spending, and all in all will keep you organized.
- Consider a card
When making the list of who you have to buy for, there are probably a lot of names that come to mind. Ask yourself though if your list might not have at least a few friends on it who would appreciate a well picked card as much as a gift, as this can cut major costs each time it is done.
Even if you end up buying your cards in bulk (and we recommend that you do), the fact that you will have taken the time to personalize with a handwritten message around the holidays is enough to spread the Christmas cheer for a lot of people.
- Wrap it yourself
It is important when trying to save money that you do as much as you can yourself, rather than paying someone else to do it. You can purchase wrapping paper in bulk throughout the year (particularly in the off-Christmas season for even more discounts), and save even on that.
- Buy online
Wherever possible, try to take the time to buy online. This can often save a heap of money, just be aware that it will need to be done in advance. The best part? You’ll save on gas too, and won’t have to deal with the long lineups and hectic Christmas shopping crowds!
- Purchase in advance (especially online)
If you purchase in advance online, it may also give you the opportunity to look for stores where you can pick up more than one gift. This is advantageous because the internet is full of ‘free shipping if you spend X’ discounts, saving you even further.
Shopping in advance also ensures you have time to pick up off season clearance deals, or have the best deal shipped to your house in time for the holiday.
- Secret Santa where possible
If you’re at an office, or in a big family, where you may have several individuals to buy for, consider setting up a Secret Santa system. These systems involve drawing one name, instead of buying for everyone, so that everybody still gets a gift but nobody has to buy for everyone. This is a huge money saver.
- Split the dinner bill
The holidays involve a lot of getting together around mealtime. If you’ve hosted a Christmas party before, chances are you’re aware of the potentially high costs of having guests to your home. Why not turn it into a potluck instead this year? Or let people know they can bring something to cut the personal costs? Most people are more than willing.
- Get crafty
These days a homemade gift can often be more meaningful than a store bought one, and with good reason. There are a lot of crafty, easy to make gifts that people may well love – at a low cost to you. Added meaningfulness and lower cost? We think so! Roll up those crafting sleeves.
- Give the gift of you (and your talents)
Make a little coupon that offers your services, whether it’s breakfast in bed for the hubby, or free haircuts for people you love (if that’s your gift). The added bonus here? Gifts of service often involve spending one on one time with you, extending the holiday bonding throughout the year.
- Remember the meaning of the season, and take advantage
Always remember that the meaning of the season is not the price tag. If you’re really struggling, talk to those around you. Maybe they’ve felt as obligated as you have to pick up gifts, though they haven’t mattered to any one, and they’ll be glad for an excuse to just spend time together instead. This can seem like a tough conversation to start, but remember the spirit of the season is not the presents, and many people understand that.