I personally hate to overlap Christmas and Thanksgiving, but already stores are running Black Friday Christmas sales. It is so easy to go over budget and spend more on Christmas than you can afford. So a week before Thanksgiving, I thought it would be wise to give tips to save money as you begin planning for Christmas.
Make a Budget
If you don’t make a budget, then technically everything you spend on Christmas is already over-budget. Don’t have a spending hangover on Dec 26th because you did not plan accordingly. Write down each person for whom you will give a present this year. Set an amount for each individual that you would like to spend. For example, you will most likely spend more on your own child than your next door neighbor. Then add up all the amounts. Don’t forget tips for hairdressers, babysitters, etc. Doing this allows you to set up a Christmas budget. To read more about the step-by-step process of setting up a Christmas budget, click here.
Shop Early & Track Spending
Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. With the ability to order online, you no longer have to fight the crowds. Plus, everything can be shipped directly to you. Now you have not only saved money, you’ve saved gas money and your most valuable resource—your time. Another advantage of shopping early is that you can usually get what you are looking for before the stores are out of stock on popular items. Remember as you buy gifts, make sure that you track your spending to ensure that you stay within your budget.
Create Homemade Gifts
One of my favorite Christmas presents was from my brother-in-law. He was a cabinet-maker by trade and used scrap wood from various projects to make me an absolutely gorgeous rolling pin. While we can’t all be experts at wood-working, you don’t have to be super creative and talented to create beautiful homemade gifts that won’t break the bank. There is a plethora of videos on YouTube. Therefore, you can easily get great ideas as well as step-by-step instructions on anything from crochet to candle-making or other DIY projects. These gifts do cost materials and time. So evaluate the cost of both before jumping in with both feet.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Limit your list-
As you create your gift-giving list, be willing to have hard conversations with people beforehand that you cannot afford to give a gift. It is so much better to do this before an event or party so that you don’t have an awkward moment when they give you a gift. As inflation has hit all of us hard, you might be surprised how relieved the other person might be to find that they don’t have to spend a dime on you either.
Random Gift Exchanges-
You can also graciously back out of any random gift exchanges. White elephant gift exchanges, for example, can really add up depending on how many children you have and how involved your family is in different groups.
Also a gift does not have to be tangible. A gift of your time can be really appreciated. Can you mow your grandmother’s yard all summer? Does your sister need a baby-sitter once a month? Ideas like these can be put into a coupon or gift voucher format.
Hopefully these tips while help you save money as you are planning for Christmas. If you like these and want more, check out Dave Ramsey’s, “25 Tips to Save Money this Christmas.” As you follow these tips and more, remember the meaning behind Christmas. Don’t get lost in the commercial aspect of the holiday. Instead, remember that Jesus is the best gift any of us could ever receive.