When the holidays roll around, it can be easy to empty your pockets with all of the gift shopping. When you’re getting your friends and family gifts, it can be difficult to stick to a budget. It certainly is challenging to save money during the holidays, but that it’s not impossible. Here are a few ways to save some cash during the holiday season:
1) Choose a budget first.
Many people make the mistake of starting out their holiday shopping by thinking of everyone they need to shop for. This can lead shoppers to spend a lot more money than they expect. Instead, set your holiday budget before you even enter a store. Make sure you consider the little extra costs like postage for holiday cards or party favors.
2) Make a list of people who will be receiving gifts.
Now that you’ve set your budget, you can make a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for. Then, go down the list and decide how much money you can spend on each person. If the sum of these hypothetical expenses exceeds your holiday budget, go through your list again and cut names or amounts. If you have a big family, make a gift list with other relatives so that you don’t have to buy a gift for everyone.
3) Temper your children’s expectations.
With all of the commercials for new toys that come on TV during the holidays, your children may write some pretty long Christmas lists. It’s a good idea to ask them to just write down one or two things they really want. You can get them more toys than that but it’s a good idea for them to understand that there are limits.
4) Engage in cheaper traditions.
Traditions play a big role in making the holidays special. However, some traditions can be pricey. If you travel during the holidays, buy your kids extravagant gifts or pay for a special attraction, you can find yourself in a financial rut when the New Year comes around. Instead, choose more cost-friendly traditions, such as baking together, touring neighborhood Christmas lights, sledding or watching a movie at home.
5) Budget your time.
If you wait until the last minute to buy a gift, you’ll have to pay a much higher value than if you’d shopped earlier. If you allow enough time for your holiday preparations, you’ll be able to save a pretty penny. In addition to shopping, these holiday preparations can include baking or wrapping presents that you’re planning to mail cross-country.
6) Give gifts with meaning rather than monetary value.
It can be easy to think that the best gifts are the most expensive ones. However, it is often the gifts with sentimental value that truly make people happy. Don’t get caught up in the cost but rather in the meaning of the gift. If you can make or purchase a gift that truly speaks to the person you’re giving it to, or says something about your relationship with the person, you’re bound to get a positive reaction.
It may seem like the holiday season is a time for excessive spending, but there are many ways to cut back. If you follow these helpful tips, you’ll be able to have a fun holiday season while still having enough money saved up for the new year ahead.