Save some green and stay out of the red!
The holidays can be an exciting time. So exciting, that we lose all consciousness and go bananas buying gifts for everyone on our list... Giving is amazing but giving FREELY is even better. Many times, we max out cards and spend last dimes to accomplish this goal; leaving us drained and devastated (lol, yes, devastated) once we've tallied the damage in receipts. There a few great ways to make sure you are staying on track and full of cheer for the holidays!
Set a Budget
This is NUMERO UNO!! Setting a practical and realistic budget for all holiday shopping will ensure your aren't spending unanticipated money. If you have a large family, breaking down cost for each person keeps gifting in proper perspective and allows you to properly allocate the money you've planned to spend. Think about all the wonderful things you desire to gift and create the price sheet for them. Once, you have them jotted down, if the total goes outside the amount budgeted, create a column that provides alternatives for gifts you need to cut back on to accommodate for other that may be must haves!
Pick a number
When it comes to my family, my husband and I sit down every year and decide a quantity of gifts we are getting each of our children. This cuts out any extra or out-of-control spending that may incur due to picking up extra items while in route to grab the items planned for. We use to buy like crazy people...it wasn't until we would see the tree (with all the gifts exploding from the bottom) that we realized we had gone too far. Let your children and/or mate write down their Christmas wishes and pick from the list according to the decided quantity and budget set. You will be winning and releasing the pressure to perform!
Shop Year Round
This year, I am really behind schedule BUT we can always start planning for next year! To keep costs low, purchase gifts throughout the year. Take note of interests, hobbies, wish lists, ect. year round. As you see things from your list come available for great prices, buy and store. You will be amazed how much money this saves! If you shop year round, you won't have a huge tab to cover once Christmas has arrived and you can splurge a little on the presentation. For this tip, start right after Christmas. Many stores get a surplus of toys, games and limited edition items. Any toys that go beyond normal inventory quantities immediately go to clearance!!! Which means deep savings for you on the season's hottest toys. You know what the say, "the early bird gets the worm..."
Sign up for Emails
Yes, you heard right! Signing up for emails can keep you privy to flash sales and daily deals that happen often leading up to the holidays. Those savings add up and while it may seem like you're doing a lot of sporadic shopping, you'll find that the end result is amazing savings!
Choose a combined Couples gift
I've spoken on this before in the "two to tango" section but this mention-worthy again! Buying a "2Fer" gift is a great way to save some cash and find an amazing and useful gift. Pieces for the home, date night gift cards and personalized items are all amazing gifts that everyone will love. You'll quickly rise to "GOAT" status when Christmas rolls around next year!
This one is no secret and many large families already do this during Christmas but many times we over look doing this in the hustle and bustle of things. Just for kicks and giggles, I'll explain it: Secret Santa is where each member draws a name and they are to purchase for that one person at the agreed upon budget of all involved. Bonus Tip: Take the monotony out and go a step further by having an additional gift or gift card for those that guess correctly (1 guess) who their Santa was. Have Santa send a clue days before with 2 truths and a lie...this creates excitement and fun around the giving to provide a whole experience being that there aren't thousands of gifts being unloaded! It's so fun!
We ALL have family members that love to shoot their shot during gift-giving seasons and Christmas is where they go for the motherload ha, ha! If you choose to go half with another family member or two, this can drastically reduce costs for each of you and be a slam dunk for the lucky recipient!
Holidays are most enjoyable when you are able to experience them freely and without added stress of unwanted money spent. Do yourself a favor and utilize some of these tips so you can sit back and enjoy your families while staying on track!