Christmas causes a lot of stress for a lot of folks. Not only do we have to deal with the logistics of making sure we manage to make it to every party, function and family get together, but we also have to worry with buying gifts.
Everybody wants to give (and get, if we’re being honest) that perfect present, but not all of us have the wallets to go with our wants. You can de-stress your Christmas gift buying experience and keep your bank account happy with these tips:
Don’t Go With the Flow
One of the most surefire ways to save money is to stay away from trends. Remember Tickle Me Elmo? He sure caused quite a sensation one year when that was the ONLY gift that kids seemed to want. People were fighting over him and some folks were buying multiples and selling their extras fir super ridiculous prices – and people bought them. Though he’s one trend that survived the test of time, most haven’t. So don’t go for what’s trendy. Buy gifts whose recipients will love (and use) what you give them.
Be Thoughtful When Buying Christmas Gifts
One of the best ways to save a few bucks is to avoid buying something your friend of family might not really want. Pay attention to conversations you have with them. If you hear “I sure would love to have a cherry scented candle,” make a note of it and look for that candle. You will not only get kudos from your friend for paying attention, but you can also avoid spending money on something that they may not appreciate nearly as much. If it sits in the closet or cabinet and is never used or worn, it’s a waste of your money.
Don’t Buy Your Christmas Gifts, Make Them
There’s no secret that is often costs much less to make something than to buy it. If you’re crafty, you can save a ton of money. If you’re not, it’s pretty easy to learn or you can capitalize on the talents you do have to round out your gift list. Here are a few examples of what you can make:
- Jewelry – Buying beads and materials is pretty cheap compared to buying an already made piece of jewelry and beading is pretty easy to do.
- Food – It’s not too hard to buy some pretty storage jars, mix up the dry ingredients to your favorite dessert and include and instructions sheet with your gift. Some people give pretty coffee mugs with a plastic bag full of homemade hot chocolate mix. You can also give out tins of your famous cookies or those cheddar crackers that everybody begs for the recipe for!
- Clothing – If you’re good at sewing, knitting or crocheting, then you automatically have an edge over your gift buying friends. Who wouldn’t want an original piece of clothing that no one else would be able to find in a store?
Shop Online for Your Christmas Gifts
Sign up for online coupons and use them. Many stores give percentage discounts or free shipping if you spend a certain amount. Also don’t forget sites like eBay for great deals and Etsy for handmade goodies that are sure to get compliments. You can also find more unique and interesting items online than you may be able to get locally so this is a great way to find more personal items for your friends and family.
Planning Your Christmas Gift Buying
The absolute best way to save money on buying Christmas gifts is to plan and budget. For some people, this takes the fun and spontaneity out of buying gifts, but your wallet will dictate how much fun you get to have buying.
- Make a budget and stick to it. It also helps if you can plan out a monetary amount that you are willing to spend per person or per Christmas gift.
- Shop around for the best price and watch for stores that offer price matching. Make lists of which items to buy at each store so you won’t have to make any return trips.
- Make lists of what you might like to get for each person you are buying for and include alternatives in case you can’t fit the price of your primary choice into your budget. And don’t forget about your gift exchange at work! With a little planning you can come up with some great budget dirty santa gift ideas.
- Start shopping the day after Christmas. This might seem to defeat the purpose, but you will get great deals after the holiday when retailers are trying to turn a buck on what they expected to sell but didn’t. This is also the absolute best time to buy Christmas decorations when that $200 pre-lit tree’s price is chopped down to $50!
- Take advantage of lay-away if you can find it to help spread the cost out over several weeks or months.