Christmas time is coming soon. Each year it arrives seeming like it just ended. Even for those of us who love Christmas and giving gifts, it can be a stressful time. Unless you are Daddy Warbucks then chances are giving gifts to each person on your wish list can be somewhat of a financial strain. But there are ways to give gifts to the ones you love without breaking the bank.
The first thing to do is figure out your budget. Once you know how much you can spend you can divvy the amounts up for each person on your list and then stick to it. Gift giving may be fun in December, but a huge amount of debt in January is not.
Here are some suggestions for getting the best Christmas gifts on your list for a little less money out of pocket.
Do not wait for December to come. Make a list of people you want to give presents to and write down what you want to buy for them. Know their wishes to ensure that you buy exactly what they desire. During Christmas time, the prices of commodities will definitely be higher. Therefore, it is best to pick up gifts from the shop from time to time before the holidays arrive. Keep those items hidden from their recipients until the day is ripe to bring them out.
Watch Out For Good Deals
There are a lot of great deals just before the holiday season. Before you run out of time, spot the best deals on the market and get them before someone else does. You can save a lot of money on 25-50% deals. However, always make sure that the items on discount sale are of good quality. You do not want to be spending on poor quality gift items for your loved ones and friends, even if you save money in the process. If you have extra money, spot for the best deals before you regret it.
If you plan to buy gifts online, check for coupon codes to get special discounts. You can also do comparison shopping. Find a comparison shopping site and check out the best deals from various online stores. With comparison shopping, you can save a lot of money, especially if you plan to buy many gift items.
Make Your Own Gifts
You can also save money on Christmas gifts by making your own. If you are talented in creating artistic crafts, buy cheap but quality materials from the arts and crafts store and start making your own toys. If you are good at painting, create a beautiful masterpiece and save it for Christmas. People love to get presents which are made with effort rather than bought from the shops. If you have no money for Christmas but have the time to make gifts, then do so.
Plan A Budget
Do not forget to plan a budget for Christmas. Before December, you should have already planned a budget and saved enough money to buy gifts, pay for food, and other holiday spending. Some people freak out just before Christmas day because they learn that their budget is not enough to cover everything they want to buy and spend on. Hence, if you want to save money on Christmas, always have a plan weeks or even months before December comes.
You can get the latest product discount updates by following various retailers on Facebook and Twitter. These companies often send out discount updates to followers on certain occasions. If you are not updated, you can miss the chance to buy certain gift items when they go on discount sale. Through the social networks, you can also get discount updates from fellow followers.
Chat With Online Reps
Online representatives can give you hints on which items are on sale. If you shop for gifts online, you can determine whether certain retailers are providing discount prices through their online customer service agents. Take the time to chit chat with these guys and ask whether they have special discount offers for you. As long as you keep the conversation going, they may reveal to you a secret discount price on certain items in their stock.
Loot The Yard Sales
The yard sales are full of treasure if you know how and where to look. It only takes patience to find the best ones in the heap of second hand goods. In fact, you can also find goods that are never opened. When you have time, take a visit to the neighbor’s yard sale and see what you can find. You can buy books, figurines, collectibles, and other stuff that may interest some of your loved ones and friends. Keep in mind that items in yard sales are sold at very cheap prices. You may get lucky finding a precious and highly valuable artifact or painting at a very low cost.
Initiate An Exchange Gift System
If you are a parent, you can initiate an exchange gift system so that you do not have to buy all the presents for your loved ones. This way, everybody has got to spend a bit of their money to buy something for someone. You can even teach your kids to save a portion of their cash allowance to prepare for Christmas. Tell them early on to keep some of their money as savings. Come Christmas time, you can enjoy giving each other gifts. After all, it is more fun for everybody to be involved in shopping for gifts. As a parent, this will also save you a lot of shopping time.
Likewise, buying gifts for neighbors and coworkers can get expensive. So suggest a simple gift exchange where a small gift can be bought by each person for just one other person. Or do a general exchange game like a secret santa where the best office gag gifts can be exchanged while also allowing for a lot of laughs.
It is very tempting to overspend on Christmas gifts when you are using your credit card. Hence, it is recommended for you to shop with actual cash and not with plastic. If you know that you become impulsive with a credit card in hand, leave it at your home when you go shopping. In addition, always follow your allotted budget. With the use of cash, you can ensure that your budget is followed completely.
Be On The Alert For Clearance Sales
Clearance sales are also very helpful when you want to save money, and not just on for Christmas, but for any occasion. When shops begin to clear out their old stocks, be there. You can get up to 90% discount on certain items. Nothing is more fun in Christmas than giving presents without spending too much cash. Keep in mind that as long as you buy quality gifts for your loved ones, it is enough to fill their hearts with the Christmas spirit.
More Ideas for Christmas Gifts on a Budget
In Store Sales
Get the Sunday paper for the sales papers. Stores are all competing for your hard earned dollar so definitely make them earn it. Stores have some of their best sales this time of year so really take advantage of them. Many stores also offer free items when you buy other purchases, or spend a certain amount. Clearance racks and bins are another place not to be overlooked.
Don’t count out stores you may not normally consider for gift shopping. Warehouse clubs have great gifts at a discount and it is always a good thing to use the membership you have paid for. Dollar stores can be a terrific place to shop for stocking stuffers and trinkets.
Try shopping at an automotive store for the car lover in your family. Or a pet store for your favorite animal lover. Maybe a beauty supply store for your friend the diva. Thinking outside the box can sometimes bring big savings.
You can also consider shopping outside of traditional stores: Garage sales, flea markets, roadside vendors, catalogs, direct sales, craft fairs and fundraisers are all good ways to get deals on gifts. Shopping outside of major retail stores can land you unique gifts at an affordable price.
There are online stores that are strictly online and some that are connected to their brick and mortar counterparts. They often hold the same sales as in-store and sometimes have extra sales available.
Not only are sales and coupons (through the use of coupon codes) often available, but you can do all your shopping from home and often can get free shipping. You also save money on gas by shopping online.
The grocery store isn’t the only place that has coupons, although keep them in mind for gifts of candy, gourmet foods and coffees. Sometimes grocery stores have the prices on beauty items heavily slashed since they only have limited space. If you combine a coupon with this already heavily reduced price you can get a real deal.
Most department stores have coupons in their sales circulars as well which you can try to combine with a sale price for maximum savings. And if you find a good deal online, always do a quick search for a percentage off coupon for whatever store you are buying from.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
If you are a truly brave soul then consider Black Friday sales the day after Thanksgiving. If you are willing to put in the time and fight the crowds you can definitely save. Sometimes really big savings are ready to be had.
If you aren’t feeling too brave you can still take advantage of Black Friday deals by shopping online. Many retailers offer online deals on Black Friday although you still need to be quick as things will sell out.
And don’t forget about Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday when many online retailers offer more special deals. If you miss out on something on Friday you may still have a chance on Monday assuming you can be on your computer.