If you’re like most people, chances are you blew your budget last Christmas (slowly raises hand….). It may have taken you months to pay off the debt. But this year you’re organized, and you want to stick to your Christmas budget. While it may be difficult saving at Christmas when it’s supposed to be a time of giving and surplus, it’s not worth suffering the other eleven months of the year. Is it possible to save money this Christmas? You betcha!
Here are 7 tips to help you save money at Christmas:
- Make your gifts. You may be thinking cheap Christmas gifts, but they don’t have to look cheap. A gift can be expensive, just because you put hours of your time into making it. Whether you knit a scarf for your loved one, or package up homemade shortbread into a tin for your neighbor, they’re sure to appreciate your gift. Be sure to remind them you made it by making a label that says “Made with love, from ____”.
- Skip the electronics. Chances are your TV works just fine. You don’t need to buy a new stereo, player, or TV until the old one dies. Why stretch your pocketbook with a purchase that you don’t really need?
- Set a per person limit. While your kids may be at the top of the budget, many spouses decide to not buy gifts for each other. Parents, and a few close friends may warrant a gift, but do you really need to give a gift to everyone at your office? If you gave a gift last year, but did not receive one in return, cross that person off your list. It’s time to be realistic about how much cash you have to spend per person.
- Consider a name draw. Gifts are more important to kids, though it’s nice for adults to get a few too. Place all the adult’s names into a hat, and draw names. That way, each adult only has to buy one gift for another adult. It can save a lot of money this way. Perhaps each name in the hat can also have a wish list, so an adult can actually get something they want, rather than the giver being in the dark about what to give.
- Tone down the dinner. Most of us have expanding waistlines. We don’t need a ten course meal or six desserts. A delicious meal with a few courses will still be enjoyed by everyone, and everyone will feel full anyway.
- Rotate the hosting. If you’re stuck hosting Christmas each year, suggest that one of your siblings does it this year. This distributes the expense around the family, so one family is not saddled with the expense of buying Christmas groceries each year.
- Pare down the invitation list. While you may feel like Scrooge at first, if you have any sort of household debt, you can justify paring down the invitation list to only close family members. Another way may be to ask your attendee to bring one course to dinner, so you’re not left with the entire expense.
How are you planning to save money this Christmas?