Feeling like Christmas always knocks you down harder than you expected (financially, that is)? It’s hard to enjoy Christmastime when you feel like your hard-earned savings is all slipping out of your hands at once. Good news: it is possible to show your loved ones that you care AND not drain your savings at the same time. Read on for our top tips to save money this Christmas!
10 tips to save money this Christmas
Are you surprised that our first suggestion has to do with budgeting? There’s no doubt about it—budgeting is essential for financial success, and Christmas is no exception!
If you don’t already have a budget in place, check out this post.
It’s no surprise that Christmas comes around every year, so don’t let it sneak up on you! Work “Christmas expenses” into your budget every month, so you can be prepared when December rolls around again.
Whether you’ve been saving for months or just got started, the next step is to figure out how much money you have in hand to spend this Christmas. Next, make a list of all the people for whom you need/want to buy a gift. Divide your Christmas savings accordingly, and stick to this budget! Make sure to add in costs for things like wrapping paper (more on this later) and any extra food items you may need to purchase.
It’s a good idea to budget a little extra for unexpected expenses. For example, you never know when the dog will eat your Christmas ham, or a kind neighbor that you forgot about will get you a gift, and you’ll want to give something small in return.
2. Give gifts that matter
It’s not always the most expensive or impressive gifts that are the most appreciated. Often, it’s the thoughtful presents that are the most treasured. Consider hand making gifts for your loved ones this year. What can you create that will be a treasured memory or a practical gift? You don’t have to save all the work for December, either. Perhaps you can make a big batch of jam when you have a surplus of summer berries. Save your jars for December, and you have a delicious treat that anyone will appreciate!
You can also give the gift of time or help. Perhaps you have an older or disabled relative that could really use some assistance running errands. If you know a mom with small children, she would probably love a good house cleaning. Maybe you have a friend who cares for a sick parent and would greatly appreciate the offer of a meal. Make it fun by creating “coupons” for the gift of your time and letting the receiver cash in on it when they could most use the help.
3. Look for sales all year long
It’s not cheating to purchase gifts ahead of time! You can save money by purchasing items that people would love and saving them for Christmastime. If your brother’s favorite brand has a sale in May, take advantage of it!
4. Plan gifts ahead of time and resist consumerism
Think ahead about the gifts you want to give and make a list. Whenever possible, avoid going into the mall just to browse. It’s easy to get sidetracked by shiny-looking “sales”, when in reality, you don’t actually need the items. If you can, do your shopping online and avoid going to the store unless you have to. When you do go into a store, stay on track and avoid items that are not on your list.
5. Order early to save on shipping
It pays to think ahead! Don’t wait until the week before Christmas to order your gifts. Generally, the earlier you order, the less you will have to pay for shipping. If you wait until a week or two before Christmas to order, you could end up spending more on shipping than on the gift itself!
6. Talk to your family members
Honesty is usually the best policy! If you’re stressed about finances this Christmas, talk to your family members about changing the plan for gift-giving. Perhaps instead of getting everyone a gift, you can draw names this year. Maybe others are feeling the same way as you are, and everyone would benefit from taking a homemade approach this Christmas. Who knows, maybe you will start a new tradition that everyone will love!
You might feel strange about re-gifting, but there’s nothing wrong with recycling a great gift. Now, we’re not saying you should give away that box of toothbrushes that you won at a white elephant. However, if you have something that isn’t your style but that your sister would love, by all means, pass it on! Just make sure you know who gave you the gift in the first place so you don’t accidentally give it back to that person. Oops.
8. Thrift for gifts
Speaking of re-gifting, who says gifts have to be brand new? You might be able to find some perfect gifts at a nearby thrift store for a fraction of the price. Whether you’re looking for home décor, clothing, furniture, kids’ toys, or books, thrift stores usually have it all. You may even be able to get a whole pile of gifts for the amount you would have spent on one new item.
9. Make some extra cash
Tons of businesses need extra help around Christmastime. It’s probably not too hard to pick up a side job for a few weeks if you want to make some extra cash for Christmas. You might even have fun at the same time!
Have some stuff you don’t need sitting in your extra bedroom? This is a great time to clean out your house and make some cash at the same time. Try listing your unwanted items on eBay or Facebook marketplace to earn some extra spending money.
10. Save on wrapping materials and cards
We all know that wrapping materials can get expensive! Don’t waste a huge chunk of your Christmas savings on wrapping paper and cards. Instead, work to re-use wrapping materials. Gift bags are great because they can be used over and over. Get creative with brown paper by adding some greenery or an artistic touch. If you do need to purchase wrapping materials, try the Dollar Tree, as they tend to carry less expensive options.
In addition, don’t feel like you need to spend $5 on a card for each person on your list. Purchase some less expensive cards and spend more time writing a thoughtful note instead. Better yet, make your own cards!
Enjoy Christmas. Save money. Achieve your goals.
These are just a few ways that you can enjoy Christmas without maxing out your credit card at the same time. No matter how excited you are about gift giving, you can find ways to do it that are still responsible for your finances. Remember, one day of the year is not worth giving up all of your savings goals! Follow these tips to save money this Christmas, and enjoy the holidays without regret!
At Milestone Wealth Management, we want to help set you up for financial success in every area of your life. This takes planning, dedication, wisdom, and hard work. Need help creating a plan for your financial future that you can feel confident about? Contact us today. We’re here for you.