It’s that most wonderful time of the year again: Christmas! Who doesn’t love eggnog and carols? But the Christmas season is also a very stressful time. With the unpredictable economy, you might find yourself worrying about all the presents you need to buy, and how on Earth you’re going to pay for them. Well, we’ve got you covered. Here are eight ways to make sure you don’t break the bank or fall into massive debt this Christmas season.
- Stick to a budget. Decide how much money you’re willing to spend on Christmas gifts. Then, make a list of the people you’re going to buy gifts for, and how much you want to spend on each person. You might, for example, be willing to fork over much more for a gift for your mother than your pesky sister-in-law. Keep the list in your phone and whip it out when you’re shopping.
- Buy for next year, now. We’ve all seen the post-holiday sales, where retail outlets slash prices and offer clothes, toys, musical instruments, and more at half the price. You can walk away with real steals. Pack them away and hand them out next year. Check the classifieds, like PostedAd.ca sometimes you can find there ads about post or pre Christmas sales
- Each week, put away a small amount of money. Whether you do this at the bank, or just stash cash in a shoe box, set aside a small amount of money each week for Christmas presents. If you put away $10 a week, that’s $520 you’ll have for holiday shopping–that’s a nice chunk of change. Need ideas on how to save on everyday items? Read this article
- When shopping online, factor in the shipping and wrapping costs. These days, many of us have got family, relatives, and friends spread all over the country, maybe even the globe. You’ve got to fire up the computer to send them a gift. If you don’t qualify for free shipping, nothing hurts worse than seeing the price double when you’re buying a heavy gift, like a new set of golf clubs, a bicycle, or a computer.
- Little kids don’t need expensive gifts. Have you ever watched a two-year-old receive an expensive gift, like a 200-dollar LEGO pirate ship, only to ignore it because the kid is so enthralled with the wrapping paper? Little kids are content with the simple stuff. If it’s something they can play with, or that you can play with them, they’re happy. So save the iPad and Gucci clothes until they’re older.
- Instead of shopping for individuals, buy gifts for couples or entire families. If you’re on a budget, the last thing you want is to see it drained from buying personalized gifts for everyone on your list. So, buy bags of caramel-covered popcorn for a family, or pick up a gift certificate to a couple’s favorite restaurant.
- Don’t buy anything for yourself. For some, this might be the toughest of all. Who knows what you want for Christmas better than you? But the holiday is about giving, so don’t short-shrift your loved ones to spend on yourself.
- Organize a “Secret Santa.” This has become very popular among office colleagues, but Secret Santa gift-giving is actually a really fun thing to do at home with your family, especially if you’ve got a big one. Why is it so fun? Simple, the mystery! Here’s how it works: get everyone’s name and contact information, then assign each person someone they have to buy a gift for. To make people feel more comfortable, it’s a good idea to set a spending limit.
If you follow these eight tips, you’ll be well on your way to paying for all your Christmas gifts and ensuring that the holiday season remains a time of celebration, rather than a burden. Just remember to shop with savvy and discipline.
If you are hosting the diner this year, you’ll find some useful tips in our latest article on how to host a dinner with now stress.