Christmas is coming. No, really. No matter what time of year it is, Christmas is always lurking around the corner, waiting for us to spend all of our money. Does this excite you, or make you anxious thinking about how expensive it might get? You can actually save money on Christmas gifts year round, through careful planning! Here are some tips, for in-season and off-season, to buy Christmas gifts without breaking the bank.
Make homemade/DIY gifts
You don’t have to be a crafty person to make Christmas gifts! A lot of ideas on Pinterest only require you to fill jars and tie a pretty ribbon around them. I’m not at all creative like some people I know, but I can put together a couple things to create a cute, inexpensive gift. Here are some easy ideas to get you started:
Begin buying gifts before the holiday season
You don’t have to wait until Christmas time to start buying gifts! Start checking your local stores around the end of summer; most places will be marking down older toys to get ready for the new ones they’ll promote for the holidays. The Meijer in my area had a whole aisle for clearance toys last year, and I actually bought a few things to save for birthdays and Christmas!
Also, places like Bath and Body Works have sales at different times of the year. Buy all of the lotions and body sprays now, while the prices are super low and the holiday crowds are non-existent! Save some for yourself, too, while you’re at it.
Start saving money now
If you prefer waiting until the holidays to start your shopping, you can begin saving now to ensure you’ll have enough money. Some ways to do this include putting money away in a savings account (like we do); buying a gift card every month and putting them away to use for shopping later; and earning free Amazon gift cards to save for Christmas through sites like Swagbucks. I like doing a lot of my shopping online, especially with Amazon Prime’s 2-day shipping! It saves me from the holiday crowds and I don’t have to drag Allison out in the cold.
Limit your gifts for each child
Maybe you want to have more of a frugal Christmas (and I don’t blame you!). If you have more than one child, buying a ton of gifts can be hard on the budget. Consider buying only a few things for each child. I like these categories I’ve seen on Pinterest:
- Something they want
- Something they need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
You’ve got all the basics covered, and if you have family around, your children may be receiving other gifts anyway.
Don’t buy gifts for everyone
I have a problem with wanting to get something for everybody I come across. Teachers, neighbors, everyone in my MOPS group… that’s an easy way to go broke! You don’t have to buy for everyone; if anything, buy a box of Christmas cards and write a nice greeting.
One way John and I settle this is by making a list of who to buy for. We have our set budget, and we write down who we’re buying for and how much we’re spending on each person. If there’s any money left, we can then use it to buy things like extra gifts, clearance Christmas decorations, or save it for the next year.
Christmas doesn’t need to be expensive, and you certainly don’t need to wait until the busy holiday season to start your shopping! Start early and save some money so you can enjoy a relaxing Christmas with your family!
Be sure to check out the other posts in my ABCs of Frugal Living series!