Is Christmas gift giving always a financial strain for you? Do you find yourself with a holiday present buying hangover, dreading looking at January’s credit card statement because you don’t want to see the amount you owe?
If that describes your financial situation every holiday season, it’s time to do something different. Of course, the best plan is to save a small amount, say $25 to $50, every month for holiday shopping, but since we’re only 7 weeks away from Christmas, it’s a little late for that.
Still, there are ways you can save money when buying holiday presents so you don’t feel the sting this January.
Here are some steps you can take now to find money for the holidays:
1. Sell stuff. Look around your house. What do you have that you haven’t used in a year or more? Do you have exercise equipment gathering dust? Sell it! What about your kids’ outgrown toys and clothes? Sell them on eBay or Craigslist. Be ruthless. Following this step alone, you may be able to make several hundred dollars for holiday presents.
2. Cash out your credit card rewards. Some credit cards offer gift cards as their reward. My credit card offers $50 Visa gift cards for 5,000 points. I have a little over 15,000 points, so I can cash in my rewards points for $150 in Visa gift cards. That won’t cover all of my holiday shopping, but it will make a nice dent.
3. Follow frugal mommy blogs. This time of year, the popular mommy blogs are sharing all sorts of freebies and deals. For instance, one mommy blog just shared a deal for a free photo book. This normally costs $29.99 plus $8 shipping. I took advantage of the freebie and made my mom a photo book with our kids’ pictures. It only cost $8. You’ll be able to find lots of deals like this in the upcoming weeks.
4. Pare down your gift giving list. If money is tight, pare down your gift giving list. Contrary to advertisers’ wishes, you don’t have to buy a gift for everyone you know. Making your gift giving list smaller is a great way to save money right up front. The less you’re spending, the less money you have to find for presents.
5. Make homemade. If you’re at all crafty, consider making some of your presents. You’re present will have the personal touch, and you’ll likely save over buying store bought. Of course, this works best if you’re making something your gift recipient actually wants. Take a look through Pinterest for an endless list of homemade gifts.
6. Make edible presents. Most people get too many cookies and treats this time of year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make edible presents. Instead, make ones that your recipients can make later in the winter, after the glut of sweets has been eaten. You could make brownie mix and put it in a Mason jar or make frozen cookie dough that the recipient could make later in the year.
The holidays don’t have to mean financial ruin for your budget. Using some of these strategies, you should be able to pay for your presents without going into debt.
What’s your favorite strategy for paying for holiday presents?
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I'm definitely considering baking my Christmas presents. It's a lot cheaper, and many people love cookies/brownies around the holidays!
I have a 'gifts' saving category which I contribute money towards each month. I use this for birthdays, special occasions and christmas - my gift giving doesn't go beyond what I've budgeted for the year!
My wife and I have thought about gifting "experiences" instead of "things" this year. Now we're just trying to figure out how to make that cheaper :)