It’s that time of year again. The festive advertisements have long begun and the letters to Santa have been written and sent to The North Pole. Soon there will be no avoiding that inevitable Christmas shopping! But what if you are on a budget?
We all want to make our loved ones feel appreciated over the holidays, but how can you give thoughtful gifts, whilst keeping spending within your limits? That’s my aim for this year, so read on with my 5 money saving Christmas shopping tips…
1. Set a budget and keep to it!
Work out how much you have to spend on presents in total. Take into account all of your other monthly financial outgoings, then calculate what you can spare to spend on gifts. You can make things easier by buying things early, or putting a little aside each month for a few months. If you haven’t done this, or if you just don’t have much spare money each month, then buy small gifts! It’s much better to give something inexpensive, yet thoughtful, than to financially cripple yourself buying gifts that you can not afford. Once you have set a budget, work out how much you have to spend on each person. Then… stick to the budget! (Obvious I know, but the step most of us find the hardest!)
2. Make a list
Make a list of all the people that you plan to buy for and how much to spend on each person – you may decide to spend more on family members, while just buying token gifts for coworkers, for example. Make sure that the total does not exceed your total shopping budget. Add to the list what you plan to buy each person – this makes it much easier to stay on budget and not buy things on a whim. If you are buying children several gifts, decide how much you are going to spend on each child and then divide this up into several gifts – perhaps one larger present and a few tree or stocking presents.
3. Start early
Starting shopping early nearly always pays off financially, as you can buy bargains as and when you see them, as well as spread the costs over a longer span of time. Ideally start shopping a few months ahead – if it’s too late for this and you have just groaned out loud on reading that, then at least start buying a few things now, during November. This avoids the financial strain of leaving it all until the last couple of weeks – when we are more likely to spend more out of sheer panic and the need to just ‘find something.’ Remember most of us get paid early before Christmas – you do not want to spend all of your Christmas earnings on last minute gifts and have no money until the end of January! (Easily done, but avoid it this year!)
4. Look for sales and discounts
It’s not too late to buy things discounted! Make the most of the upcoming ‘Black Friday’ sales to find bargain gifts (for non US readers, ‘Black Friday’ is the day after Thanksgiving – this year Friday 28th November). Can’t face the shops? You and me both! – Head online for the same discounts, and often with free shipping. Check out theblackfriday.com for information on all of the upcoming deals. Many sites have deals all of Thanksgiving week and the following Monday – ‘Cyber Monday.’
Outside the US? You don’t have to have eaten Thanksgiving turkey to make the most of the online Black Friday sales. Sites like amazon usually have Black Friday discounts on all of their sites. Check your local site and search for ‘Black Friday’ to find deals.
5. Give homemade presents
Homemade presents are not cheesy! In fact they are always more thoughtful than those bought in a store. If you have a crafty skill or talent – then now is the time to use it! Many of my most memorable Christmas presents as a child were homemade – including a doll’s house crafted by my dad, complete with wallpapered walls! Homemade doesn’t have to be complicated though – gifts can be as simple as homemade jams or cookies for friends, or small framed photos for parents or grandparents. If you want to get something thoughtful, but just really don’t want or have time to make something yourself, then try sites like Etsy, that are teeming with ideas for original yet inexpensive gifts.
Right, I’m off to add some more ideas to my present list!
Have you started shopping for the holidays? Anyone else have any money saving Christmas shopping tips?