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As we’re now a week into December, it’s time to really get into the holiday planning (if you haven’t already) – especially with the budget! Do you find yourself spending more money for Christmas than you plan to every year? If so, you’re not alone – many people go into debt during the Christmas season, despite best intentions, and spend the next year paying off credit cards and other bills. However, it doesn’t have to be that way, as long as you do some planning and stick to it. If you struggle with this (I certainly do), maybe try some of these 5 Tips to Save More on Christmas this year.
I’m totally guilty of spending too much at Christmas – using excuses like ‘oh, but this one more gift is just perfect for so-and-so’ or that ‘we have to buy something for this group, they may feel bad if we don’t’. It can be hard to draw a line, but for your family’s financial sense we all really need to. To help, here’s five ways you can save more money for Christmas this year:
- Even though the Christmas Day may seem like a long time away, it’s never too early to start planning for it – we all know how fast time goes, especially this part of the year! Creating a plan now can save you money later partly because you won’t have to run out at the last minute to buy gifts, decorations and supplies (batteries, tape and wrapping paper are what I run out of most). You can take your time and shop around, finding the right gifts for the best deals.
- Shop for deals online – you can often find some great deals that you won’t find in stores. Some retailers may offer more variety online as well, so you may also have better selections to choose from. Maybe you can find that watch in your kid’s favorite color, making it all the more exciting to receive. Check out our Holiday Gift Guides for great options!
- Don’t try to buy gifts for EVERYONE in your family – it can get really expensive and put your bank account in the red very quickly. Instead, only buy gifts for your closest family members and friends. Then get together as a group with your extended family and co-workers to draw names instead of trying to buy for everyone. Be sure to set a limit on the amount to spend for the gifts. If the budget is really tight, try DIY gifts – or simply explain that you’re very sorry, but you’re limiting gift spending this year to very immediate members and such. Almost everyone has had a time when they’re crunched for pennies, so most people will understand.
- Keep your decorations simple. Instead of buying a six foot tree, consider a two or three foot tree and use homemade ornaments to decorate. Cut back on the number of lights you use when decorating your home to reduce cost and to help save on the electric bill. Shop thrift stores for awesome-though-used items to add to your display.
- Keep your Christmas dinner to a minimum – you don’t have to include FIVE different types of vegetable sides or several desserts. If you do plan to host a large family gathering, ask everyone to bring their specialty dish to help out. It will cut back on how much you have to spend and most everyone will be happy to contribute!
Use these tips to save money so that you can focus on the real meaning of the season – enjoying loved ones and being grateful – instead of stressing about the financial side of it. Not going in debt for the holiday season can be your gift to yourself!