It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I absolutely LOVE the holiday season! It’s filled with so many good things, like family time, holiday décor, hot cocoa, candy canes, happiness, Christmas music, and presents. While I enjoy gift-giving, I want to point out that it can get out of hand very quickly. I want to give all the people I love, family and friends, everything they want. Unfortunately, if I did that I would probably be left with a penny to me name. That’s why I want to share with you tips to ensure you don’t go broke at Christmas!
Set a Budget for Christmas
I have spoken about the importance of having a budget countless times; however, a budget is pointless if you don’t update it constantly for every additional expense that you have. You need to know how much money you are willing to spend on Christmas gifts in order to plan for those costs. Determine a total amount you are willing and able to spend on gifts and then divide that accordingly for the people you would like to give gifts to. Keep in mind that you should set a realistic budget; don’t spend money that you don’t have.
Save Ahead of Time
It can be difficult to find the money to spend on Christmas gifts without sacrificing a different expense line in your budget for the month, so my suggestion is to set aside money ahead of time. You can do this in whatever way works for you. Some people prefer to set aside a little money each month throughout the whole year. Some people prefer to buy gifts throughout the year and save them for Christmas to spread out the spending. Some people start saving in the couple of months leading up to the holiday. Whatever way works best for you, just try to plan ahead as much as possible to avoid financial stress.
Look for Deals
Black Friday may be absolute mayhem, but you can truly find amazing deals on all sorts of items at stores. If you’re not one for dealing with the craziness in public, like me, then you can enjoy the sales from the comfort of your home by shopping online. You can find “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” deals beginning the day before Thanksgiving all the way through the Monday following Thanksgiving. I actually saw a bunch of websites that continued their “Cyber Monday” deals into Tuesday, even.
Ask Not to Exchange Gifts
If you’re really struggling to find the money for gifts for everyone, it is more than okay to ask to not exchange gifts. I’m sure your loved ones will completely understand and they wouldn’t want to make you uncomfortable or have you spending money you don’t have. As an alternative to gift-exchanging, you could always suggest a creative idea such as secret Santa, recipe exchange, or doing a group activity together.
Utilize Reward Points
If you have a credit card that offers rewards points, utilize them for gifts around the holidays. This takes the burden off your bank account and you are utilizing money earned from purchases already made. There are various ways to do this: turn your points into gift cards, use your points to purchase gifts or apply your points as a credit to your bill. This can really help save a lot of money. Additionally, make sure you are taking advantage of earning cash back, whether through your credit or through sites like Ebates (click this link to sign up and earn bonus cash with your first purchase).
Christmas may be the most wonderful time of year, but make sure that you enjoy it wisely and don’t overspend. You shouldn’t go into debt to buy gifts for yourself or other people. Spend only what you can afford and you’ll enjoy a stress-free holiday season!