Does Old Saint Nick spend too much of your hard earned money? I used to break the bank when it came to Christmas. Of course, having five children and two with birthday’s in December, you would expect my piggy bank to be empty. Alas, I figured out a few ways to save money on my Christmas budget and since this is the season for giving, I want to give you 10 way’s to save on Christmas.
- Make a list of people to shop for. Years ago I used to buy gifts for EVERYONE in my and my husband’s family, special co-workers, my pastor and his wife, the mailman, my children’s teachers and special friends. There were over 100 people on my list and it was quite costly, not to mention, gifts for my children, a gift for my husband and a gift from each child for my husband. You get the point. After about five years of doing this, I made a list of people that MUST receive a gift. I cut that list down to about 30 people.
- Make a spending plan. Set a certain amount of money to be spent per person on your list and don’t go over that amount.
- Shop all year. Since I know my husband likes anything to do with football, about a week after the National Championship game is over and football has come to an end, I hit Bama Fever Tiger Pride to search for his gift. My mother likes cash so I set aside a certain amount of money each month and in December I purchase her Visa gift card. I am a sweater fanatic, so I search for cute sweaters in the summer on the clearance rack. Those make great stocking stuffers for my grand children.
- Use discounted gift cards. $100 worth of gas for $80 sounds great doesn’t it? You can purchase discounted gift cards from hundreds of on and offline retailers such as the Apple Store, Radio Shack, Sears, Home Depot and others. Discounts are usually between 5% to 30% off of the face value of the card. Also checkout sites such as GiftCardRescue.com and GiftCards.com
- Use Social Media. Before you start shopping. Follow your favorite retailers on all of their social media platforms. Many retailers offer special discounts to their social media followers that non-followers are not privy to. Also they may allow you to stack the social media discount with an in-store discount for an even greater savings. This is also helpful throughout the year when discounts are offered as you may be able to find that perfect gift for that special someone on your list long before Christmas.
- Find discount codes. I never purchase anything online without trying to find a discount code first. I’ve literally saved hundreds of dollars and it doesn’t take more than a minute. Simply go to RetailMeNot.com, and FreeShipping.org to pull up all of the available discounts for your store. Use the discount code during the checkout process to get free shipping or to save 20% or more. Another one that I use is SecretPrices.com but at the time of this writing they are down for website renovation.
- Don’t shop for yourself. This is one I struggle with. Make a promise to yourself that you won’t buy anything for yourself while shopping for others. Make it all about the people on your list and not about you. Besides, you can catch all the fantastic after Christmas sales to shop for yourself.
- Do a cash only Christmas. If you know that you have had trouble with paying off credit card debt after the holidays, then do a cash only Christmas. That way you won’t be in debt once the holiday season is over..
- Don’t overlook intangibles. In a family with a special needs child, I can attest to this one. Do you know someone who is a caregiver for a family member? Offer to give them a break by maybe sitting with the person they care for while they enjoy a night on the town or a relaxing day at the spa. I know this one may be a stretch but offer to clean their home or do a few loads of laundry. You really don’t know how much they will appreciate that. Do you bake or cook? While you are whipping up a batch of cookies, bake a batch for the kid’s teachers or the postman. These are very cost effective and from experience, are greatly appreciated.
- Remember the reason for the season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, keeping the holiday’s spiritual message front and center is a good antidote to the holiday gimmies. Instead of spending weekends leading up to Christmas in the mall, it would be a lot better gift to spend your time with your family.
Don’t break the bank for the holidays, use these tips to make sure that you have more green in your pocket and your bank account is not in the red.
I would love to hear from you, what tips do you use to save money during the holiday season? Comment below and share with your friends.
Your Money MakeUp Artist