It is no surprise that Christmas will be a bit different this year. According to many studies and surveys, the coronavirus pandemic has affected – and will likely continue to affect for a few years – household finances and it has shaken up the way shoppers plan to celebrate the holidays.
However, if it is impossible for you to say no to gift buying for your loved ones this holiday (one of the biggest expenses of the year), having a plan and prioritizing spending, along with getting the best Christmas Deals, will be the key to avoid a holiday season that drains your bank account.
Here are the top 5 best money-saving Christmas tips to get something special for everyone on your list without dipping into the red.
- Start Planning in Advance
You need to be strategic. If you are going to buy gifts, try to avoid the chaos of the shopping mall on sales weekends – like Black Friday or Cyber Monday – and start planning ahead, taking time to carefully look for deals at any moment during the year.
Having a plan will help you save money every month, instead of coming up with all of the money at once. With a little forward thinking and planning you will find some great things for less money than you thought, and it will make gift buying less stressful and rush.
- Cut the Extra Gifts
If you want to save even more money, create a spending plan that lists who you need to buy a gift for and how much you will spend on each person. Do not start buying presents for every person you have ever met. Not everyone needs a gift.
If you have many “extra” people on your list, like neighbors or maybe your kid’s teacher, try skipping their presents this year. Send a card or a letter to show them you appreciate them and that you are thinking of them.
Also, if you have a big family, a clear conversation about skipping presents this year could be just the thing your family and finances need.
- Stick to a Budget
First thing first: make a budget to determine how much money you have available to your gifts. When you go off the budget, you will probably overspend. Once you have got your budget set, try to stick to it.
Do not plan to spend more than you have saved planning on paying it off later. In that sense, try to stick to a cash-only system. Using a credit card is never a good idea, it makes it easier to overspend.
Also, do not forget to consider all the holiday-related expenses, not just the gifts. Details like wrapping papers and cards can add up quickly. Again, you can save on these items by buying them in advance, or, on the other hand, you can get creative and wrap presents in magazines or newspapers, it is cheap and definitely eco-friendly.
- Track Your Spending
As you begin to purchase your gifts, be sure to track your spending and subtract each gift amount from your total budget. Every time you go shopping, carry your list and your budget sheet. If you do not bring it with you, you may not realize how much money you are spending, and it is going to be more complicated to stick to your budget and make adjustments (if needed).
Also, keep the receipt! In case one of your gifts does not work as expected (wrong size or duplicated item), it will be easy to ask for a return or exchange.
- Find Discounts
Try to find discounts codes, coupons, or vouchers before buying anything online. Many people dismiss them as they think they only save insignificant amounts of money, but you can actually save a lot (or sometimes you can get free shipping) and it does not take much time.
Deals sites or social media groups are great places to start to keep up to date on any coupons available for the stores you know you will shop at for Christmas. Also, having someone else keeping an eye out for discounts and special offers will help you catch them as soon as they pop up.
If you missed the opportunity to do early shopping this year, do not worry, just remember to budget for the next season! Start saving in January to cover the next year’s holiday spending. Put aside money each month and you will stress less and it will allow you to start the new year in better financial shapes.
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