I don’t know about you, but Christmas nearly kills my bank account every year!
I always say I’m going to spend — let’s say — $1,000. But, I inevitably end up spending 3 times that amount.
Sure, it’s totally enjoyable, and I’d say it’s ultimately worth it. BUT, I need to slow down a bit this year and actually save some money.
Our goal is to buy a house this year, and I don’t want my entire downpayment to go to gifts for people like my cousin’s brother’s nephew. — NOT that he doesn’t deserve a gift, but I need to draw those boundary lines somewhere!
Wouldn’t it be a novel idea to end up debt free this Christmas, and actually having some money in the bank going into the new year?
In an effort to be more financially conscious and monetarily wise this year, I bring you:
20 Tips To Save Money This Christmas
1. Set a budget. Now, this could be an amount to spend per person, say $25. OR, this could be a total amount that you are going to spend for EVERYTHING, say $1,500.
2. Stick to that budget. No cheating, now. When you decide on an amount, make yourself stick to that amount. You could even make it like a game. How much cool stuff can you get for $25?
3. Plan it out. Write down a dedicated list of everybody you need to buy a gift for this year. Don’t forget to include the kids’ teachers, your postal worker (if you choose to include them), and your in-laws.
4. Come up with ideas for each person. This is often the fun part. As I’m scouring through the Amazon website, or even when I happen to go into World Market, I remain conscious of who I need to buy for.
I’ll even keep the list with me (because I make it on the “Notes” app on my phone), and jot stuff down as I see it.
5. Keep track of EVERYTHING you buy for everyone. As I buy things, I put a check mark next to their name on the list. That way I KNOW that I already have them taken care of, and as much as I want to, I don’t need to get them anything else.
6. Don’t Forget About Stocking Stuffers. Whether you have decided on a certain amount to spend, or whether you have worked the price into a total that you are spending, don’t forget to include stocking stuffers. These are gifts too, and stocking stuffers are where you can REALLY end up spending a lot of money before you even know you’ve done it. Be careful.
7. For relatives, do “Family Gifts.” A great alternative to buying a bunch of little things for everyone, is to do one big family gift. It looks exciting, but you may actually end up spending less money on one big gift, and the families won’t mind one little bit.
Examples that we have done in the past: a S’mores maker for the family, a night at Great Wolf Lodge for the family, tickets to Disney on Ice or some other fun event, dinner and a movie (gift card for dinner, gift card for a streaming service).
8. Secret Santa for relatives. Decide as a family that you are going to have a fun Christmas party this year, and at said party, you are going to exchange Secret Santa gifts this year.
How to pull this off: Get one dedicated person to be in charge. Put everyone’s name on a sheet of paper, and throw the names into a “hat.” Either let each family member draw a name, or pick one for them. That is their Secret Santa recipient for the year.
A fun thing to do is have each person put a list of their likes in with their name. That way, you are a step ahead in trying to find them the perfect gift!
9. Skip the work gifts. I know. This feels so wrong. But, seriously, your co-workers are probably getting plenty of gifts from their family. Give them a nice card. If that’s not enough, bake them some cookies. OR, you can work a small gift into your Christmas budget, but don’t go crazy.
10. Don’t do the “Buy Now, Pay Later” thing. Only spend what you have. You often end up paying interest when you go the layaway or credit route, and that is like throwing your money out the window.
11. Spend TIME rather than large amounts of money on your immediate family. Example — my kids know that this year we are taking a trip. They are aware that this is their BIG gift, and they get to help plan it. Sure, we will get them some little gifts to go under the tree, but the big gift will be the trip.
Besides, what are they going to remember 20 years from now? That video game you got them, or the time spent making memories with the family?
12. Shop Early. Gurl, this year I started shopping in August. I was able to hit up the after summer sales and the Labor Day sales, and saved quite a bit of cash in doing so. Everything is something I would have gotten anyway, but they were CHEAPER!
13. Use old gift cards. You probably have Walmart, Target, Amazon, or some other bits of unused gift cards laying around (check the bottom of your purse). There is NOTHING wrong with using what’s left on these gift cards to do your Holiday Shopping!
14. Regift what you have. What? Did I just say that? YES!! There is really nothing at all wrong with regifting something you have in your home. Maybe you even have unused, unopened gifts from years past just stuffed in your closet. Use those as gifts!! Nobody is going to ask where you got it. They’re just going to appreciate the gift!
15. Do NOT borrow money to pay for Christmas. If you don’t have it to spend, don’t spend it. Period. The end. Borrowing money is like an anchor around your neck. You think it’s there to help, but it just drags you down in the end.
16. Sell stuff you already have. This is a way to make money for the holiday season. Go through your closets. Are there clothes that you don’t wear? Old baby toys you can part with? Cooking gadgets you never use? Get rid of them!
You can sell on places like Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, Poshmark, and even consignment stores. HOWEVER, don’t get caught losing a crap ton of money on shipping. Work that into your price.
17. Just because it’s on sale does NOT mean you have to buy it. Say it with me! Just.Because.It.Is.On.Sale.Does.Not.Mean.You.Have.To.Buy.It!! That is how stores get you. They lure you in with a hot sale. But, be strong!! Stick to your budget!! Don’t blow the bank on a flash sale that’s amazing.
18. Fill up your virtual cart, but don’t check out right away. Hee Hee. This is a little trick I accidentally learned when I did this very thing. It’s happened TWICE. I had totally forgotten I had a cart full of stuff somewhere, and the company ended up sending me a coupon if I went ahead and checked out. Saved me 20% one time, and 25% the next!!
19. Don’t screw yourself on shipping. If you are shopping online, have a strategic plan. Purchase everything you need in ONE purchase. That way you aren’t stuck paying separate shipping charges from the SAME place.
20. If you have bought for everybody on your list, and you still have money left in the budget, DON’T SPEND THAT MONEY!! Stick any extra money you didn’t spend in the bank. That’s not free money. It can still go to pay rent, utilities, or even be saved for next Christmas!