The holidays can be ” the most wonderful time of the year,” but for some, it’s also a time filled with stress and anxiety. With all the gift-giving, traveling and holiday functions you may just be happy when it’s all over! If you end up loosening your financial belt during this time of year, you’ll likely regret it come January. Don’t fret; it is possible to make it through the season without going broke. Check out my tips for buying gifts when you are on a budget:
Plan Your Gift Giving
When buying for your family and friends, remember the age-old saying, “It is the thought that counts.” You don’t have to spend more than you can afford when spreading holiday cheer. Follow these steps to help keep your spending under control:
- Take a financial snapshot and set a realistic budget for all of your holiday spending.
- Make a list of everyone that you will be buying a gift for.
- Allocate a spending limit for everyone on your list from your budget.
- Have 2-3 options for each person within that price range and stick to those items when shopping.
The key to holiday spending is not to overload your credit cards. It is understandable to create a little bit of debt over the holiday season, but it should be a reasonable amount that can be paid off in 1-2 months. To avoid credit card debt altogether, look at how much you spend at the end of this year and try to put a little money aside every month so you will be able to pay cash for all your gifts next season.
Budget-Friendly Gift Alternatives
If your budget doesn’t allow you to spend on everyone you want to this year, there are alternatives to the traditional gift-giving options that will still allow you to spread the holiday cheer.
I know this practice may seem like a faux pas but when done correctly, there is nothing wrong with re-gifting. If you received a gift that a friend or family member will enjoy more than you – pass it along! Make sure it’s NEW, in the original packaging, and the person you are giving it to is not in the same circle as the person who gave it to you.
I remember doing this when I was in grade school but never took it seriously as an adult. Secret Santa is a great way for a group of friends to exchange gifts when you are on a budget. Set a spending limit and everyone only has to buy 1 gift.
There is nothing wrong with giving someone a homemade gift. It is refreshing to receive something that you can’t just pick up from any store, plus you can personalize them for each of your friends. Make it, bake it, craft it, sew it, paint it … whatever your specialty is.
I know it is not a gift, but it is still something to consider…Instead of having a traditional holiday dinner where one person bears the weight of cooking the whole meal, have a potluck instead. It may be a little work to organize, but its cheaper than going out to dinner.
I hope these tips help you be mindful of your spending! No matter what you give, just remember to give from your heart and be joyful!
How do you save money during the holidays? Share your creative gift ideas in the comment section below.