The holiday season is still a couple of months from now but, considering the average person spent 805$ during the 2015 holiday season, it’s never too early in the year to start saving on your Christmas shopping. In fact, the earlier you plan ahead and prepare yourself for the holiday expenses, the less likely you are to burn a hole in your pocket when the time comes.
Here are some of the more useful tips we’ve gathered over the ages for saving money during the holiday season.
Create a Christmas Shopping Budget
Have we mentioned that planning ahead is the key? The more time you have in advance, the more research you can do to set up an initial and accurate budget for your holiday expenses. Don’t forget to include all the “little things” that most people overlook when determining their budget! Holiday shopping isn’t only about purchasing gifts but also about spending money on Christmas cards, wrapping paper, parties, travel expenses, and others.
There are two main ways to set up a budget. You can establish a general spending cap for each gift or you can allocate a specific amount to each person on your list. Regardless, you don’t want to create a budget that’s too tight and unrealistic. Scour the web, check the actual prices of the items you want to purchase, and when you’ve finished setting up your budget, add a few extra dollars so you have a bit of wiggle-room and flexibility for those last minute purchases you’ve forgotten about.
Once you’ve determined your budget, an important thing to remember is to track your spendings. Once you’ve bought an item off your budget list, make note of it in a separate column with the actual amount you paid. Some people opt to keep a separate bank account dedicated to their Christmas shopping funds, which also helps in keeping track of expenses.
Approach Holiday Sales Frugally
While sales are a great opportunity to save money, you want to be careful that you don’t get tempted to buy things you don’t really need. You should also be aware that some sales aren’t “sales” at all and some shop owners have been known to out up the “Sale” and “Discount” sign while not bothering to change the original prices.
There are a number of things you can do to take full advantage of the sales and discounts this holiday season. Comparison shopping sites are great for checking online which shop is offering the lowest price for the items on your list.
Gift cards and coupons are also a great way to save money since many online stores, such as Zeek, sell them at a reduced price, which means that you’re actually getting a double discount. The more popular gift cards are from stores that sell a variety of things so that the person you give it to will have different ways to enjoy it, according to his own preference. Amazon gift cards are great in that sense, Argos gift cards for those residing in the UK and Walmart or Target gift cards for those in the US.
Keep In Line With the Holiday Spirit and Opt for Budget-Friendly Gifts and Traditions
The holiday season is much more than a time for shopping and receiving gifts. After all, the holidays it’s based on all promote values and principles such as generosity, charity, family, and kindness. The true meaning of the holiday spirit, then, is about spending time together and making memories.
Fortunately, this can be accomplished without spending a dime. Consider the following activities you can do with your children that teach them the true meaning of the holidays while creating everlasting memories.
- Volunteer at a charity together.
- Go to prayer together at your religion’s place of worship.
- Bake together.
- Go to your local high school play.
- Create DIY Christmas cards, decorations, and gifts with simple everyday household items.
- Prepare a big (extended) family meal. To cut the expenses down to a minimum, let everyone know in advance that you’d like help with appetizers, desserts, and side dishes. This way, everyone participates in preparing the family meal together and you don’t have to spend all that time and money in having so many people over.
How do you save on Christmas shopping?
*Unedited wooden Christmas poster is designed by Freepik.