If you want to keep rocking around the Christmas tree without racking up the Christmas debt, be more thoughtful in your spending and saving this season. How? Good question. We’ve got 8 answers for you right here. Keep reading for money-saving Christmas tips.
Christmas Tips to Save Money
1. Develop a gift-giving philosophy.
Normally, our first suggestion in every instance of life is to budget. And we’ll get there. But before you budget, our very first Christmas tip is this: You’ve got to create your Christmas gift-giving philosophy.
What does giving mean to you? Is it about finding the perfect presents? Do you hope to impress others with how much you spend on them? Or do you feel obligated to buy for people? These motivations (and others like them) can really shape how you view the season.
Be honest with yourself and think about why you’re buying presents before you think about how you’re going to pay for them all.
Now, the way you become the hero of the holidays is by budgeting. That’s right—if you want to stay on Santa’s nice list, set a limit for how much you’re going to spend and stick to it. Use our Christmas Present Planner as a guide, and download your free EveryDollar budget to help.
3. Track your spending.
So, lots of people spend like crazy throughout December and never check in on their budget. They just think, I’ll worry about it in January. Future you has some advice here: Don’t. Do. That. Track your expenses as you go so you don’t end up overspending and ruining this month’s and next month’s budget.
Christmas Tips to Save Money on Gifts
4. Choose time over money.
There’s an old saying that goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” For some people, the thought of spending time together really is better than the joy of a physical gift. You can save money this year by being intentional about being together—in whatever way you can, whether that’s in person or virtually. This year, value experiences over accessories and conversations over clutter.
5. Shop early.
Don’t wait for Black Friday to start Christmas shopping—look for sales all year long. Grab that stuffed Sasquatch on clearance in July for your bigfoot-loving nephew. When you’re mindful of your list throughout the year, you’ll spread out both the spending and the stress (and maybe even get rid of the stress altogether).
If you missed the chance to jump on the early shopping train this year, remember it in January when you’re budgeting for the next Christmas season!
6. Give fewer gifts.
As you’re in the spirit of trimming the tree, trim down that Christmas list while you’re at it. Of course, you do have a bit of holiday-induced obligation to deal with. You can’t pass around gifts at family Christmas and be like, “Uh, sorry, Cousin Scott . . . You’re the only person I couldn’t find anything for.”
7. Resist retail marketing.
Friends. Americans spent $886.7 billion on the holidays last year.2 That’s a lot.
Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in all the sales and spending. You may think these retailers are posting deals from the goodness of their hearts to help you—but their real goal is to get in on a part of that $886 billion holiday “magic.” Stick with your budget—and shop wisely.
8. Use old gift cards.
Think about all the money you have left on old gift cards, as well as the cards you’ll never use because they’re to places you never shop, eat or visit. Consider the partial cards as discounts and use them to buy presents. Regift (which is not a dirty word, as we’ll explain later) the other cards to people who’ll appreciate them. Don’t let those little pieces of plastic go to waste this Christmas!
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