Did you know in 2019 on average Americans spent $950 per person on Christmas presents? For some families, gifts are a huge part of Christmas. Taking your kids to pick out the perfect gifts for each other, shopping for the special gift for your significant other, buying supplies to make gifts, they are all special moments that create lasting memories. Gifts however do not need to be expensive and even if they are, these tips will help stretch your money and set you up for holiday spending, long before the holidays. Here are our tips on how to save money on Christmas presents.
Everyone celebrates the holidays differently, and there is no right or wrong way to do things. Some parents love going all out and some want to but cannot. It is ok. The amount you spend does not define your love for people.
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Tips for Saving Money on Christmas Gifts
1. Make a List of Everyone you Buy Gifts For
When I say make a list, I mean make a list. I want this list to include everyone you could ever think of that you spend money on during the holiday season. Do you buy neighbor gifts? What about attending holiday parties that require a white elephant (here is a list of 40+ white elephant gifts)? Do you have to buy employee gifts? Family, friends, kids, literally everyone. Be thorough.
2. Make a Budget
You have your list, now you need to set a dollar amount near every person/ group (neighbors/ parties) if you can. Being able to physically see how much you spend per person will help you know how much to start saving and if you may be over spending.
Create a budget using these numbers and add a little extra to it. You may not realize how much you are actually spending on gifts. Adjust your number accordingly to fit your budget. You can also add all the gifts you buy in a year to the list- birthdays, celebrations, etc..The worst thing you can do is spend money you do not have.
3. Start Saving in January
This is my favorite tip. After you make your list and set your budget, break down your number by paycheck. Set that money aside each paycheck. It is easy to do and will help you save. I also like to set aside extra money I may have made selling things on marketplace. Saving throughout the year will ease some stress during the holiday season when you may be trying to find money you didn’t plan on.
4. Don’t Overbuy
With Prime Day, Black Friday, Target Day, Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, big sales and so forth, it is easy to buy things you do not need. They make items look like a great deal and a can’t miss. I like to make a list of things I need and if it is on sale, then I can look into buying. Shop around to make sure you are getting the best deal as well. Amazon had a few things on their prime day sale, but target actually had it cheaper.
5. Re-Evaluate Your List
Check over your list, if money is tight, you can cut people out. Do not feel bad if this is the case. If you cannot afford to buy gifts, do not spend the money. There are many other things you can do. Evaluate when necessary and don’t feel obligated to buy something for everyone you know. Gifts should be given because you genuinely want to, not out of obligation (again, everyone is different and everyone has different situations)
6. Buy Used
I do not mean go out and buy junk, but check your local online yard sales, Facebook marketplace, and thrift stores. There are some incredible finds on these sites. I like to keep track of things people say they want. My sister and I will be talking and she will casually mention something and I will add it to a list in my phone so I can keep an eye out if I happen to find it used.
Be careful gifting used items though. Clean them thoroughly, and know your audience.
7. Shop Year Round
Keep a list of things your kids or family members talk about wanting. Do you have necessities you buy as gifts? Shop year round when things pop up on sale. Do not buy unnecessary items, but
8. Make your Gifts
Are you crafty? Do you Sew? Are you a good Baker? Do you have some other skill? Put it to good use and use up your stash of supplies. Homemade gifts make great gifts, but also be aware that homemade can be more costly than store-bought. Baked goods are a great gift because you can buy bulk supplies and make a ton at once for people. Make sure you take into account your time in the cost as well. Making gifts can be really special and is such a fun tradition.
9. Cash Back Sites
Rakuten and TopCashback are my two favorite sites to use. I use both regularly (you cannot use both for the same transaction though) and check which one is offering better cash back each day. All you have to do is sign up, before you shop at say macys, go to topcashback.com and type in your merchant website, follow their link and shop as normal. Cash back tracks on the website and you can request payout or set up automatic payout (different on both sites). I buy everything using these sites and get between 1-10% with every transaction. That really adds up.
10. Keep Track of Your Budget
You have your list and your money saved, now what? If you are buying throughout the year, or even just Oct-Dec you need to keep track. Make a google doc, excel sheet, note in your phone, whatever you need to do. Some people recommend only spending in cash, but you never know when a merchant won’t take cash, or cash will be available. I like putting everything on my credit card for the extra points, but I always pay it off in full and keep track. Keep track of every single dollar being spent on your gifts.
Other Ways to Save
-Look up the 52 week money challenge- you can save 1500 a year easily.
-Sell stuff on Facebook Marketplace or other online yard sales
-Offer to Babysit, Dog Walk, and any other ways to save in your neighborhood
Other Ways to Save on Gifts
-Trade babysitting with siblings, friends, neighbors etc. Babysit each other’s kids while you each take a turn going out.
-Host a neighborhood get together for the holidays instead of gifts. My in-laws neighborhood hosts a hot chocolate night every year and it is always special for them.
-Host a girls night/ cookie exchange for the ladies you may be buying for instead and spend quality time together
Whatever your budget may be, the holidays always seem to bring a little stress. Ease some of that pain and plan early. Stay within your budget and try really hard not to spend money you do not have. I hope these tips will help you on how to save money on Christmas presents.
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