Tracy is a cost-conscious holiday enthusiast who enjoys sharing money-saving tips with those who love to celebrate.
The truth is that you really don’t need to worry. There are many alternatives to going shopping at the mall and spending too much money. Christmas is a time to reflect on what's important to us, spend quality time with family and friends, and appreciate the good things we have in our lives.
This is not to say that exchanging gifts shouldn’t be a part of Christmas. Holiday shopping is fun, and gifts are a way to show how much you care for someone. What you spend should be a matter of what you can afford, and you should do what you can to get the most for your dollar.
There are numerous ways to save money on Christmas gifts this year. Even a thoughtful Christmas card is enough to let someone know that you’re thinking of them over the holidays. The following are some creative ideas about how to save money over the holiday season while still enjoying a wonderful, sparkling, joyful Christmas.
1. Make a Shopping List
When you go shopping, make a list of the items you need to purchase; this will prevent impulse purchases. Keep track of the amount of money you can afford to spend and stick to it.
2. Send E-Cards or Buy in Bulk
There are a number of options when it comes to Christmas cards. You can purchase cards in bulk if you send out a lot of them. The best time to buy Christmas cards is when they go on clearance, which happens just after Christmas. Another option is to create your own E-cards to wish your family and friends a merry Christmas; use your email to send them out for free.
3. Use the Secret Santa Gift-Giving Method
A great way to set a limit on the amount of cash your family spends on one another is to apply the “secret Santa” method. This is a fun activity for everyone; simply place everyone’s name in a bag and have each participant draw just one name. This is the person they will buy a gift for. A dollar limit can be set to make sure the amount of cash everyone spends is fair and equal. This is also a great idea for the workplace.
4. Save on Wrapping Paper
Purchase wrapping paper at discount stores such as Big Lots. Save gift bags throughout the year so that you don’t need as much wrapping paper when the holidays roll around. Wrapping paper goes on clearance just after Christmas, so this is a good time to purchase a roll for next year.
5. Take Advantage of the Internet
You can find excellent deals on the Internet, and shipping is often included at no extra charge. Websites such as Amazon.com and auction sites such as eBay are great places to search for gifts. This can save you a lot of time driving around town, and with the price of gas today, the amount you save might be significant.
6. Save Money on Shipping
Always inquire about shipping costs. Many companies earn a large profit from shipping; however, many companies such as Amazon offer free shipping on purchases over a certain dollar amount. You also have the option of having the purchase sent directly to the recipient’s home address.
7. Make Your Gifts
Many people make their own gifts, and if you have the time, you can make countless craft items right out of your home or apartment. Websites such as About and FeltMagnet are extremely helpful for craft ideas. If you can cook, baked goods are always appreciated.
8. Give Gifts of Service
Create your own redeemable coupons that are good for services such as cooking dinner, serving breakfast in bed, washing a car, giving a back rub, mowing the grass, doing the dishes, or running an errand. The possibilities here are endless.
9. Choose Practical Gifts
Sometimes it makes sense to purchase gifts that you know the recipient is going to need in the future anyway. Everyone needs to eat, so gift cards to restaurants are always nice. Your friend or family member might even take you out to dinner with them!
10. Take Advantage of Discounts and Specials
From the beginning of November, search for discounts, coupons, vouchers, sales, and bargains both online and in-store.