Good Morning everyone! I don’t know about your area, but ours has been having a short heat wave the past week or so and it’s been up near the 90’s again. Talk about losing that fall feeling! But I’m determined to push through this brief heat wave and wait expectantly for those cooler fall temperatures to return this week so I can stay in the fall mindset.
One of the things I try to focus on when I’ve got “fall fever” is making a dent in my early Christmas shopping. I’ll confess – I HATE shopping after Thanksgiving for Christmas! I can’t take the crowds in the stores and trying to park in those overcrowded parking lots…it’s just not for me. So I really try to have all of my Christmas shopping completed by Thanksgiving so I don’t have to fight the crowds – or at least only have online shopping that I need to finish at that point. Since I’m in the Christmas shopping mood, I thought this would be the perfect time to give some steps you can take to try to make your Christmas spending a little easier on the wallet this year.
There are so many expenses that can crop up and can overwhelm our finances during the holidays!
- Christmas Gifts
- Gift Wrapping Supplies
- Donating to Organizations – Angel tree, sponsoring a family, Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, Toys for Tots
- Baking Supplies
- Parties – food, decorations
- Travel Expenses – hotel, food, gas, tolls, flights
It can definitely feel overwhelming, especially if you’re already trying to follow a budget! But don’t lose hope – there are steps you can take these few months leading up to the holidays, as well as throughout the year, to help ease the financial burden we all feel with the holidays. You want to start off by setting a budget for how much you will spend on the items listed above. When setting your budget, try to be realistic so you won’t overspend when you’re shopping and blow your Christmas budget.
Tips for Last Minute Savings:
- Shop at your local dollar store for stocking stuffers, gift wrap, bows, gift bags, tissue paper, and gift tags to save a TON.
- Put items on layaway to help reduce the amount you have to pay out at once.
- Try to pick up a few gifts each month to spread out your spending.
- Watch for sales and bargains in store circulars – especially for larger or more expensive items.
- Look for craft ideas you can make and give as Christmas gifts. Make it a family affair to let everyone join in the fun of giving a personalized gift.
- Use rewards points from your credit card or store rewards programs to save money when shopping.
- If you don’t already, start using coupons when you shop. With a little effort, coupons can really make a difference in your savings.
- Shop the Black Friday deals. Now if Black Friday shopping usually isn’t for you, you need to know that the general sales offered at stores on Black Friday (the non-timed sales) are good throughout the day and you can go in later when the stores aren’t as crazy and still get those deals. If you’re worried about the store being out of that item, make sure you get a rain check so you will still get that sale price when the item comes back in stock.
- Consider making your own Christmas cards this year. You can make them as a family as a craft project, or even look into sites where you can create free cards using family pictures. Try Canva, PS Print, Fotor, Adobe Spark, or Greetings Island.
- If you want to save on postage for your Christmas cards, consider sending email cards instead this year. You could check out Jacquie Lawson, Blue Mountain, American Greetings, 123 Greetings, Crosscards, or Kisseo.
- Cut back on your “fun” spending money over the next few months. Pack your lunch an extra meal or two each week, make coffee at home instead of buying it out, watch a free movie on demand or rent a Redbox movie instead of going to the theater. You will be amazed at how quickly this money adds up!
- Have friends and family over for a fun night in instead of going out for the evening. Have each person bring a dish and you won’t even add money to your food shopping budget for the night.
- Cut back on eating meals out. Just by cutting one meal out each week you can save a significant amount of money for your Christmas savings.
Saving Throughout the Year:
- The earlier that you can start putting money aside towards Christmas, the less you will need to save each month or check.
- You have to make sure you look at Christmas savings the same way you would a bill – it is money you have to commit to saving or it just won’t work.
- Slowly pick up items towards Christmas during your routine food shopping – non-perishable food items, paper products, decorations, and stocking stuffer gifts. You can also watch for sales on items you know you’ll need to save even more money.
- Start saving your change in a jar. Once the jar gets full, transfer it into a savings account.
- Consider opening a high-interest savings account like one at Ally Bank. This will help your savings to earn more money for you throughout the year.
- Set up your direct deposit so a specific amount is automatically deposited in your savings account towards Christmas.
- When writing charges into your checkbook, you can add $1.00 onto the cost or even just round each charge up to the next whole dollar and leave that money in your account. After a while, you will be surprised at how quickly you have saved a significant amount!
- Shop for Christmas presents throughout the year. I’ve picked up some great gifts in April or May when I found items on clearance that I knew my family would love. Just be mindful when buying clothing for children early as there is the possibility that they could outgrow it before you are able to give the gift.
- If you are under your budget for the month, then add that amount into your Christmas savings.
- Try to plan no-cost weekends throughout the year and add the money saved into your Christmas savings.
- If you’re able, try to pick up a part-time job, odd jobs, or work overtime throughout the year to bulk up your Christmas money.
I hope that these ideas have gotten you excited about saving money and Christmas shopping for this year, as well as for each year to come! I’d love to hear what tricks and tips you use to cut back on your holiday spending as well, so please comment below to share your ideas with everyone! And don’t forget to share this post on your social media sites so your friends and family can take advantage of these tips as well!
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