That wonderful time of year is upon us once again. The holidays. The season of gift giving. We work all year long, and , it seems, out of no where, the Christmas holidays are here.
Now you are faced with buying gifts for your family and friends, maybe even clients, but you still have your usual bills to pay. How do you accomplish all the gifts, without spending too much? To spare you a little anxiety (or at least get you on the right track as you start picking out gifts and spending), here are a few tips to help you survive on a budget.
Survive Christmas on a budget
Set A Budget, and stick to it
Set a budget for the holiday season. It sounds simple, but making this plan and aiming to stick with it keeps you from spontaneously adding gifts ‘just because’. I work to set a budget for each person on my list. Whether it is $100.00 or $1000.00, stay within your budget. Whatever you decide, make it realistic. You are not going to purchase someone an Xbox if you have a small budget. Work to be creative and find something that comes just from you.
We have so many options, yes? Today we are blessed with the ability to comparison shop. There are plenty of online stores who constantly compete for your business – eBay, Etsy, and Amazon to name a few. If you spend the time to do the research and know when the sales will be, you can often score a deal on a much-wanted item on your list. Also, by using sites such as Ebates, you can earn money back on your purchases.
Forget your Credit Cards
Leave your credit card at home. If shopping from home, leave it hidden in your wallet. The interest you pay defeats your savings on merchandise unless you have a 0% interest rate. I know the point is to survive the holidays, but if you have to pay the bills later, it will simply be painful later. If your credit card has an interest rate attached to it, you will spend more money in the long run. It’s not easy, I get it. But you will be more peaceful come January.
Need, Want, Read, Wear
There is always the four-gift idea for your kids. Something they need, want, wear and read. This method teaches children quality not quantity. Now, feel free to add a few extras in, but you do not have to go crazy for kids to have a great Christmas. We have a tradition of pajamas for Christmas Eve, with a Christmas movie and some hot chocolate packets and popcorn. It’s something your children can pass on. In my experience – the more gifts a child receives, the less they value the few that truly matter.
Do it yourself
Do not be afraid to pull out your mad do-it-yourself skills and make some gifts. Wreaths, candle holders, ornaments, knitting, stained glass, or homemade cookies are not only fun to make but are appreciated. A handmade gift shows that you put your time and love into a personalized gift. Plus, many DIY gifts do not cost a lot, allowing you to stay within your budget.
These are just a few ideas to help you survive Christmas on a budget. Remember, the holidays are about love for your family and friends. They are NOT about spending every cent in your pocket. Even if you cannot afford much, real family understands that.
They are grateful for your thoughts and heart. Be happy, be merry and have fun.
How do you survive Christmas on a budget? What are your tips, tricks, and ideas on staying sane during the happiest most stressful time of the year?