‘Tis the season of joy, yet the holiday comes hand in hand with many expenses for countless individuals. With inflation continuing, Christmas will be an expensive season for many.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans spend approximately $1,000 on Christmas yearly. Given the ongoing economic downturn, this could potentially pose financial strain. Fortunately, several practical tips can be done to save up for the holiday season besides eating cup noodles daily.
A no-brainer first step is to plan what to buy from the get-go: gifts, decorations, dinner parties, and even transportation for all those Christmas visits. On average, 71% of holiday budgets are allocated to gift purchases. The ultimate goal is to limit how much you want to spend and stick to it.
Knowing how much everything costs will help to prevent going over budget and reduce anxiety over all the expenditures. It is also okay to come up with rough estimates rather than no plan.
2. Limit Gift List
As you are in the Christmas spirit, you probably need to trim down the list of people. You are not obligated to buy a gift for every person you know. You can send a thoughtful card to them.
Better yet, you can play White Elephant or Secret Santa to cut back on buying gifts for multiple people. People want to maintain a yearly Christmas budget, so it makes sense not to go too crazy on spending.
3. Use an Expense Tracking App
Excel sheets or a budget planner can be fabulous tools to keep track of all your spending. But nowadays, a wide variety of financial planning apps are available, which makes that even easier. Using an app makes it convenient to note and monitor expenses from anywhere. With so many apps to choose from, here are the top four recommendations:
One way to cut costs drastically is to buy second-hand gifts. Make a trip to thrift stores or websites to find gifts that are often significantly cheaper than buying brand-new products. Buying cheap things does not mean the quality is terrible. Thrift stores often carry rare, one-of-a-kind items more meaningful than store-bought stuff.
You don’t want to miss out on cashback when shopping for gifts. Many sites, like Quido, Rakuten, and TopCashback, offer cashback. They are legitimate companies that have worked with major brands, so they’re safe to use. Who doesn’t like to earn money while shopping? Depending on what you buy, the amount of cashback can vary between 1% to 15%.
6. Spend Less on Traditions
Do you make everyone Christmas cards and send them out? What about Christmas goodies? While it’s a great tradition, your wallet wouldn’t like it so much. You can save so much money by cutting the extra things you do. You don’t need to send Christmas cards to everyone you meet or know because that would be a lot of money and time. Not everyone also needs more Christmas goodies because some people don’t need the extra calories.
7. Comparing Prices and Sales
The big red sign of sales might seem tempting, but they are often marketing ploys designed to entice impulse buying. Be savvy and verify sales vs. original price by checking tracking websites like Honey, which monitors the price of items all year round. You want to make sure you are buying things on sale and not paying for the original price.
Christmas time is the holiday many companies and brands send out emails for people to spend money. Last year, Americans spent up to $936.3 billion. You must be careful when checking your emails because you don’t want to get caught up in the sales and spending. If you are tempted, you should unsubscribe to all emails so you don’t overspend. You may think retailers are posting deals when they want you to buy their things. If you are smart, you stick with your budget and shop wisely.
9. Create Homemade Gifts
Rather than buying gifts, homemade stuff can be cheaper and more meaningful. If you struggle to budget this holiday season, you might want to try to make something for your loved ones. You can make a card, ornament, scrapbook, or scarf. Often, it’s the thought that counts, and what better way to express that than by gifting something made with time and devotion?
10. Wrapping Gifts
You don’t need the colorful wrapping paper or the beautiful bows. The average person usually spends $56 on gift-wrapping materials for Christmas. The gift matters more than the wrapping. You can buy wrapping paper from the dollar store instead of the fancy and luxurious ones from Target.
While regifting has a bad reputation, it's time to move away from that. You may have some new things you never touch in your life, and it's time to give them to someone who might use them. Maybe you still have that new emerald dress sitting in the closet with the tag on. What about the brand-new cooker you never open from your relatives? If you aren't going to use the gift you have been giving, someone else can have it. It saves money and keeps a gift from going unused.
12. Say No
Sometimes, people are on a budget, and saying no is the best policy. If your workplace, small group, or club wants to do a gift exchange, you don't have to participate if you are on a budget. Christmas is already as expensive as it is with all the stress you are dealing with; you don't want to add more stress to your plate. Be kind, and tell them you can't participate.
She started her blog, The Money Dreamer, when she realized the 9-5 job was not the lifestyle she wanted anymore. After designing for a while, she wanted a more meaningful life, which was freedom, so she decided to venture out. She took action so that she can live her dream life and decided to help people to live theirs by helping them how to save, budget, and invest.