Christmas is, by far, my favorite holiday! It’s a happy time to focus on God, Family, Peace and love. Unfortunately it can also be a time to worry about finances, budgeting and debt, leaving you and your family STRESSED OUT! If you are one of those people who will spend whatever to fulfill your child’s wishlist, don’t stress – instead check out these money-saving tips below.
1. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE
The longer you wait to do your shopping, the more you risk items being sold out, forcing you to pay a higher price for that must-have item. I, personally, begin my gift shopping right after Christmas and gather a stockpile all year long; not only for Christmas but birthday gifts, friends’ gifts, teachers… whoever I would need to buy a gift for.
2. MAKE A LIST
If you walk into a store without a list, there is a pretty good chance you will walk out with more than what you anticipated. Make a shopping list with exactly what you want to get for each person and the prices. This will help you stay on target.
3. USE CASH
So many people rely on credit cards to get them through the holidays, and it’s quite sad. Even if you are getting a good deal on the item, using a credit card forces you to pay back later, including interest. Is that item that much cheaper if you include those charges? Most likely not. Save yourself the stress and just use cash. If you can’t pay for it in cash than you can’t afford it. The best way to save up the cash for Christmas shopping is to set aside a dollar amount ever paycheck into a separate savings account that cannot be withdrawn from unless you have both yours and your “othe half’s” signatures. Think about it, if you make $1,000 every two weeks and you set aside $50 every paycheck – by December you will have $1,100 to spend on Christmas gifts. Times that by two if you include a spouse or significant other. That would make a pretty nice Christmas.
4. DIY GIFTS MAKE THE BEST GIFTS
Making your own gifts is a wonderful way to not only save money, but to make those grandparents and parents happy with a handmade gift from the heart. These gifts are truly custom, one-of-a-kind gifts they will never forget.
5. GO FOR QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
Rather than smothering your friends and family with a huge pile of unnecessary gifts, just give a few meaningful ones. It will be much easier on your wallet and more heartfelt than a ton of presents.
6. USE COUPONS AND MONEY-SAVING APPS
If you are not a couponer, there is no better time than now to start. Ibotta, Target Cartwheel, ebates and more are great apps to use to get some of the money back you are spending; especially if you are an online shopper.
7. PRICE MATCH
A lot of stores offer price-matching, although this seems to be going away with some large retailers. Some even price match Amazon, like Target and Walmart, if it is sold and shipped by Amazon. Take advantage of other retailers discounts at your local store.
8. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!
I cannot stress it enough – DO YOUR RESEARCH! Whenever I am looking for a specific item, I will always google it to see where I can get the item and at the best price, especially for larger more costly items. Sure, doing this is time consuming, but I would rather spend time than more money. I often use BrickSeek.com to aid me in my searches.
9. SUGGEST SECRET SANTA
If you are like me and have a large family, and two sides of family, suggest a Secret Santa Gift Exchange. Why spend tons of money on gifts for twelve people if you don’t have to? Gift exchanges are the best way to save money and time!
10. KIDS DON’T NEED EVERYTHING THEY WANT
I, myself, have struggled with this one. As parents, we all want our kids to have everything they wished for on Christmas. However, fulfilling all of your kids’ wishes comes with a price. My family has converted to each child receiving only seven gifts and man has it saved us some serious money while leaving our kids glowing on Christmas morning. Below is a list of their seven gifts:
- Something they want – The Big Ticket Present!
- Something they need – Sports equipment, Hobby related item?
- Something to wear – Clothing not usually bought
- Something to read – Book, magazine subscription?
- Something to do – Movie tickets, event ticket, special outing
- Something for “ME” – Keepsake ornament, photo album, money
- Something for Family – Board Game, DVD, Family Outing
I hope you find these money-saving tips useful as you shop for your family this Christmas. If your family is having a difficult time “cutting back” this Christmas, remember there are so many ways you can show them how to be grateful this holiday season. Visit the open door mission, adopt a family, donate toys to a charity like toys for tots; show your kids that there are other families right in the Omaha area that are truly in need this Christmas. This will teach them to be grateful for what they have.
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