The year has flown by and Christmas is just around the corner. The holidays also mean the stress of shopping for presents and the impact that it will have on a shopaholic’s budget. But just because spreading Christmas cheer costs money doesn’t mean that you need to go into debt.
While part of this starts with saving money throughout the year, there are still ways to save money if you haven’t planned. As such, here are five ways to save money for Christmas – even for your decorations.
Start Early & Look for the Sales
While you might not want to do all your holiday shopping in September or October, you should be on the look for sales. For example, you might be able to take advantage of special offerings around the back to school period or for Halloween.
While you might have missed Amazon Prime Day this year, you can still sign up to see which of your favorite online shopping sites are running specials. This will make sure you know when they are planning specials on the items you are wanting to buy for your friends and loved ones.
However, one thing you want to remember, even when bargain hunting, is that you will need to keep a close eye on what you are spending, and this brings us to the second way to save money for Christmas.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Shopping for the holidays can be tough. It doesn’t matter if you have a long list or a short list, remembering who you need to buy presents for takes some planning. As such, you want to make sure that you are making a list and checking it twice.
You might not be Santa but by getting organized you can keep tabs on what you need to get, and importantly how much everything costs. This brings us to why making a list is so important – it’s the only way to control how much you plan to spend over the holiday period.
This will add a level of transparency to your holiday plans and it will let you know how much money you need to have lined up to pay for everything.
What about saving? Well, making a list will make it easier to look online to see which stores or websites have your planned purchases at the lowest prices. Just remember that when you are shopping online, you will need to check shipping costs and how returns are processed. Doing so will allow you to buy with confidence.
Look to Cut Costs Across the Board
Just because you are looking to pay for your holiday purchases doesn’t mean that you should try to save money in other parts of your life. For example, you might want to look at your auto insurance or even your monthly internet bill to see if there are ways to save money.
The savings you realize from these cost-cutting measures can either be used to pay for presents or the build up your bank account – which in some ways is a present to yourself. Beyond this, you want to be mindful of your expenses.
This is especially true if you don’t have much saved up for holiday purchases as tightening your belt in the months leading up to Christmas will give you the cash you need to pay for the holidays.
Switch to Gift Exchanges
While this is harder to do if you have young children in your family, a gift exchange is a great way for everyone to save money on Christmas gifts. The reason is simple, a gift exchange means that you, and everyone else in your family or circle of friends, will only need to buy a present for one person. This means that you will need to purchase fewer gifts and hence save money.
Go Old School
In the old days, people would make the presents they planned to give to others. Fast forward to the consumer culture we live in today and most people opt to buy gifts rather than make them. However, this doesn’t mean that can’t buck the trend and it starts by making your gifts.
Granted, you will need to be comfortable making things but if you are then this is a great way to cut back on your Christmas-related expenses. Just keep in mind that you will need to schedule a time to buy your supplies and them make what you plan to give away.
Don’t worry if you think that making your own gifts will make you look cheap as your friends and loved ones will be honored to receive something you made by your own hands instead of just buying at the store. So, save money, go old school, and make your gifts.