These tips for saving money on holiday gifts will help you stick to your budget this year.
Last year American families spent an average of $700.00 on Christmas gifts. If you were one of those families, I'm going to try to help you lower your expenses this year with these tips for saving money on holiday gifts.
Tips for Saving Money on Holiday Gifts
I recommend making a budget. You are less likely to succumb to impulse buys if you have a budget and a plan. Set a total amount. Make a list of people that you wish to buy presents for, then divide the amount that you have budgeted over your list of recipients.
If you need to cut back, make it known. Don't let guilt, fear, or embarrassment cause you to make poor financial decisions. Make suggestions for ways to cut back and you may find that friends and family are grateful to you. Some ideas:
- Draw names instead of buying for every family member.
- Only buy gifts for the children.
- Set a dollar amount.
- Buy a group gift for the families on your list, like a game they can play together, instead of individual gifts.
You don't have to buy all of your gifts at the mall!
Give Homemade Candy – or baked goods or homemade jam or…What do you make that your friends love? Consider gifting that item, especially to people who already have everything they need. Here is a homemade candy round-up for inspiration.
Give a Handmade Gift – My mother-in-law was thrilled with the set of note cards I made from my kids' artwork. I've also made sugar bowl candles and coasters from tiles. Visit The Happy Housewife for a round-up of homemade Christmas gift tutorials.
Give the Gift of Service – I would love a coupon for babysitting! Think about the people on your list, is there something that you can do for them that would be a more meaningful gift than a store-bought present? If so, then create a certificate on your computer, print it out, and wrap it up.
Buy a Gently Used Item – Thrift stores, consignment stores, and eBay are all great places to find unique and inexpensive items.
Saving Tips for Shopping Online:
Group your purchases to save on shipping. Many businesses offer free shipping if you spend over a certain dollar amount. Use your list to organize your purchases into as few online businesses as possible to save money on shipping.
Don't forget about Cyber Monday. Online retailers will have lots of great deals on that day. It will be a good day to save money on electronics, toys, games, apparel, and books.
If you take your time finding gifts, don't forget that December 14th is Free Shipping Friday. Many online businesses will offer free shipping on that day and guarantee arrival by December 24th. After that, you will need to factor in the cost of priority shipping into your purchases.
Tips for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday:
Don't go shopping without a list! Buy a local paper or check online for Black Friday sales. Know what you want, where, and at what price and you will be less likely to get sidetracked from your plan and more importantly, your budget.
Bring a water bottle and a snack with you when you go shopping. Eating out adds to the expense of the shopping trip.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Park near where you plan to exit at the mall, rather than where you want to enter. I prefer to do the long walk with empty hands, rather than when tired and loaded down with purchases.
If you can get your hands on a stroller bring it but leave the children at home. I always end up picking up odd shaped or heavy items, so the stroller really comes in handy. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday can be crowded, stressful events; I do not recommend subjecting young children to them.
But most importantly remember, store-bought gifts are not an essential part of celebrating Christmas! They are nice but completely optional!