As the holiday shopping season approaches, it’s time to start making your gift list, so you have a general idea of what type of gift you want to purchase for each recipient. I also find it helpful to set an overall budget, then break that down per person, so you don’t overspend and get yourself in financial trouble. Once I have my budget and idea list ready to go, I start watching for sales. I make sure I am signed up for the email subscription lists for stores that I frequent, and when I’m ready to make my purchases, I go to sites, such as Ebates, to see if I can find any coupons, promo codes, free shipping codes, or other discounts to help me stretch my budget dollars as far as possible. *It’s free to join, and new members get a $10 Gift Card when they make a purchase of $25 or more through the site. If you check out my Saving Money post on Common Centsability, I included a screenshot there from my Ebates profile, so you can see this IS a site I personally use often 🙂
Holiday Budgeting Tips:
- Hopefully, you’ve been able to set aside money each pay period into a savings account for Christmas, saved some tax refund money, or get a Christmas Bonus to use. If not, make sure you prioritize this starting January 1 of the New Year, so you don’t have to stress out at the holiday season. It’s very freeing to be able to pay cash for all gift purchases!
- Look at your overall financial situation, and be realistic about how much money you can afford to spend. We’d all love to purchase expensive items for our loved ones, but it’s not financially responsible to do that, and no one wants you to get into financial trouble because you overspent on gifts for them.
- Once you have a total amount to work with for the holiday season, you need to break down how much you can spend per person. You can find creative ways to bring people joy with the gifts you purchase, but you have to know how much money you are working with before you can get serious about shopping for them.
- Now that you have a budgeted amount per person, really take some time to think about each recipient, what they enjoy spending their time doing, something they need and maybe wouldn’t purchase for themselves, or something that reminds you of a special time you spent together. (One of my closest friends once gave me a gift that cost her $5 as a joke, with another item, because it reminded her of us. 25 years, I still have that $5 gift, it’s on my dresser, and it makes me laugh and think of her every time I see it. Special gifts don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful.
- Online shopping when you are on a tight budget can be VERY helpful. It’s very quick and easy to compare prices once you’ve decided on an item, to make sure you are getting the best price possible for that item. You can search for coupons, discount codes, free shipping codes, and use cash back rebate sites to get the most for your money.
- If sending gifts via the mail, order online and have the item sent directly to the recipient so you don’t pay to have it shipped to you, then you pay to ship it again to the recipient. ALL of our family lives out of state, so I send all of our gifts to the place everyone is gathering for the holiday. Sometimes I pick up a few additional small items in store, and send that one box separately.
Once you’ve found a way to save money, you can make the determining factor if you’ll keep those savings, perhaps putting the money into your savings account to get a head start on the NEXT holiday season budget! Sometimes I’ll also use that money to pick up additional small filler items that I know will make the recipient happy.