The holidays can be a stressful time of year, especially when it comes time to buy presents for family and friends. If you have many people to give to, the money you spend can add up very quickly, putting a huge dent in your wallet. Luckily, there are ways to buy a perfect gift for everyone on your list while keeping within your budget.
First of all, start planning early. No need to wait until December to start Christmas shopping. If you see a gift earlier in the year that you know would be the perfect present for someone on your list, buy it then. That way, you won’t feel pressured to buy a gift at the last-minute and end up spending more than you expected. In addition, if you shop months ahead of time, you can make the most of the seasonal sales and other trends. You can spend a little at a time and therefore avoid using your credit cards and racking up unnecessary interest. Furthermore, if you prefer to order gifts online, you will have to pay extra for shipping should you wait until the last minute. Order early and save.
In order to start early and really do things right, it is important to get organized with a good shopping list. This will make things easier while avoiding duplicates and other mistakes. Use phone apps or other tools to keep that shopping list with you and organized at all times.
Another frugal idea is to think creatively. If you’re artistic and want to create your own gifts, there are many great gifts that can be enjoyed by many people. Candles, potpourri, soaps and lotions are all fun to make and can customized with different flavors, and food items are always a hit. Who doesn’t like to eat during the holidays? Homemade fudge, cookies, truffles, breads and cakes are enjoyed by all, young and old.
Give without giving gifts
Another spending tip during the holidays is to examine your budget and who you want to spend money on. Don’t feel that you need to buy extravagant gifts for everyone in your family. Instead, why not just a simple Christmas card exchange? It’s much easier and cheaper to buy a card for someone than to spend a lot of time and money of a gift that may end up being exchanged anyway. If that doesn’t work, see if your family can participate in a gift exchange so you focus on buying gifts for just one person or focus on gifts for the kids and stop buying for the adults. For those who really want gifts, it’s not the amount of money you spend that matters so agree on a low spending limit.
Bargains and used goods
Skip the department stores and remember the treasures can be found at thrift stores and garage sales. Even a slightly-used gift can still bring a smile to someone’s face. From bargain outlets to eBay, those who look can get items at the lowest price possible. This is where starting early can really help.
Online coupons are some of the best tools for saving and should be used extensively.
Get creative with photos
If you have children, you no doubt have many photos that you’d love to share with family. Why not share them in a creative way while crossing a gift off the list? You can take your photos and put them on virtually anything, from coffee mugs to photo books to bags to shirts. There are many photo publishers such as Shutterfly and Snapfish that can do this easily and inexpensively. Plus, they often offer promotional offers and free gifts.
Don’t feel like you have to wake up early to catch the Black Friday sales. Most of these sales can be found online, and price comparison websites makes finding them easy. You can order gifts from the comfort of your own home without having to brave the crowds. Plus, being in a physical store can cause you to be more impulsive and buy items just because they are on sale.
Don’t waste on gift wrap
Avoid spending large amounts of money on gift wrap. Most of it ends up getting trashed anyway. Save the extravagance for the actual gifts and look into other ways to create gift wrap. You can use old newspapers, especially the comics. You can even use your children’s artwork or find some packing paper and create your own. Save gift bags and use them for upcoming holidays.
Give magazine subscriptions
Magazines often offer discounted subscriptions during the holidays, so if you know of a hobby or interest that someone on your gift list might enjoy, you can save on magazine subscriptions.
Get gift cards
Part of the expense of holiday shopping is the time it takes, and it is almost impossible to get someone else exactly what they really want. This makes gift cards the way to make it easier for everyone. They also make alternative kinds of gifts possible. A couple might enjoy a night out at a local restaurant or movie. As an added bonus, there are many discounts to be had on them at places to include www.giftcardgranny.com.
Generate extra income
Find ways to generate extra income for holiday gifts. Round up any unused items you may have around the house and sell them in a yard sale or online. If you have free time, squeeze in a part-time job. Many retail stores need extra help during the holidays. Check with your employer for any holiday offers and savings that can be obtained through the company.
When holiday shopping, remember that it’s the thought that counts. More money spent does not equate to more happiness. Buy gifts for only the most important people in your life. Skip the extravagance. If you can only afford to shop dollar stores, so be it. Everyone’s budget is different. Just be sure you create one and stick to it.