Three tips to saving money this Christmas
Christmas is here! Well, almost, and if you have a lot of shopping to do you may be stressed out about how you can save money. There are lots of tips and tricks out there, but the following three will definitely save you lots this year.
Make a list, check it twice, and stick to it
Make your Christmas list and write down every single person you can think of you’ll need to buy for. If you have an office Christmas party that does a gift exchange, list that, too. After you have made your list, walk away form it for a few days and revisit once you have cleared your head. Did you forget to add Uncle John? Or did you forget Aunt Jane got divorced, so you don’t need to buy her ex-husband a gift? Check your list before you begin buying.
After you have made your list, go through and list gifts you’d like to give each of them and write down the expected cost. This will help you make a budget, and you should not go over that budget. One way to stick to this budget is to make sure you take the list with you every where you go. Can you get Dad and Brother Gary’s gifts at the same store? Then make a list of all the gifts you can get at that store. This will help you focus on the gifts you need to buy and drown out the distractions of holiday shoppers, lights, and sounds. This will also help you limit your trips to stores and saves you on gas money spent.
Make your gifts and other items
As you go through your list, pick out the things you can make. Gift baskets are a great idea for aunts and cousins, and photo albums are great for grandparents. Any time you can make a gift you should, because that cuts down on costs and adds a personal touch to Christmas gift-giving. Not sure what to make? There are dozens of sites online that can assist you in picking out great home made gifts. If you can’t decide on a gift to make, or you just aren’t crafty, you can give service gifts. Make ticket books where you offer to cook dinner for someone, or you give them a free night of babysitting. These are not only practical, but they show that you really care about the person to whom you’ve given the gift.
But the hand-made items don’t stop at gifts. Have you noticed how expensive that decorative wrapping paper is? Instead of buying that, get plain brown bags and wrapping paper for half the cost and decorate them at home as a family. Not only will this save you money, but you can make it a great family-night craft. You can even make unique gift tags and Christmas cards to add to the personalization.
Does your Christmas tree need some more ornaments? Make those, too! You can get wooden ornaments and paint for much cheaper than those glittery glass ornaments in stores. And they last longer! Let your kids each paint one, add the date to the back, and in 20 years look back on the memories of painting the ornaments with your children.
Shop early and shop thrifty
If you give yourself time to shop early, you can find most of your gifts on sale or cheaper than you thought. That glass candelabra set that grandma has wanted for years may be on sale at a store in June. Pick it up and store it! She’ll never know you got it for 50 percent off. The more time you allow yourself to devote to thrift and bargain shopping, the more likely you are to find great deals on all of the gifts you need to purchase. Take your time and jump on great deals when you see them. Also remember that Black Friday deals aren’t always “deals,” and some stores actually do mark up their prices because they know shoppers will be out and about that day. Check catalogs and ads of stores you’ll know you’ll shop at so that you will know when they truly off