The holiday season is full of excitement and cheer, but it’s easy to go overboard and spend way too much on everything from holiday decorations to gifts for family and friends. Unfortunately, overspending is common during the holiday season. Even after you’ve purchased all of your gifts, you might see something online and want to buy it for your loved one. However, you should gain control over your spending to prevent overspending. Gift-giving is fun, but it’s also expensive, and your loved ones don’t want you spending too much on their gifts, especially if it causes financial strain and added stress. Here are a few ways to save money during holiday season:
1. Set a Budget
Set a budget if you want to control your spending and save money during holiday season. You can look at your spending over the last few holidays to determine how much you usually spend and set a much lower budget. Next, consider all the people you need to buy gifts for and set an amount you can spend on each person- the last thing you would want to do is have to take out a loan. Of course, you may want to spend more money on some people than others, so it’s perfectly normal to have a budget broken down by person to ensure you don’t overspend on everyone’s individual gifts.
You should plan how much to spend on everything from gifts and decorations to food, travel, and other holiday expenses to prevent yourself from overspending. Keep your budget on your phone, and remember to cross things off your list so you don’t forget how much you’re spending.
2. Make a List
Making a shopping list will prevent you from going overboard on spending. Have a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for and how much you can spend on each one. If you have a long list, go through your list and budget again. Although you want everyone to have a gift this holiday season, most people don’t want or expect you to spend too much on them. If you can, consider trimming the list of people you need to buy gifts for. Does your boss’ wife actually need a gift even though you’ve never met her? Yes, shopping for gifts for people can be enjoyable, but not everyone in your life needs a gift.
In some cases, you may be able to agree with friends and family not to exchange gifts, especially if you’re going through financial hardship or difficulties.
3. Try Secret Santa
Instead of buying everyone in your family a gift, suggest doing a secret Santa instead. This way, you only have to purchase a single gift for someone in the family and won’t have to worry about spending too much on everyone else. A secret Santa gift exchange allows you to draw a name out of a hat and buy that person a present; you don’t have to buy anyone else a present. Most secret Santa exchanges have a set limit you can spend on your gift. Still, since you’re only purchasing a single gift, you can get someone something more extravagant and expensive, allowing everyone in the family to get something nice without spending too much on everyone else’s gifts.
4. Pay in Cash
Paying for gifts in cash is a great way to reign in your spending. When you pay with cards, you may feel like you have an unlimited budget, especially depending on your spending limit. Once you have your holiday budget, you can take cash out of your bank account and leave all your credit cards at home to ensure you won’t overspend. Leaving your credit cards at home when shopping and only paying in cash will keep you more budget-conscious. In addition, paying in cash will prevent any holiday debt you may get when paying for gifts.
When you pay with cards, you lose your sense of responsibility because your card has higher limits than the cash in your wallet. So while there’s nothing technically wrong with using your cards to shop for gifts, it means you may rack up a large balance you won’t be able to pay off immediately.
5. Avoid Paid Gifts
If you’re a creative person with skills that allow you to make your gifts, you can save money by making gifts for everyone in your family. For example, if you can knit or crochet, you can make everyone a hat or scarf, and they’ll be thankful because you’ve spent so much time making them something special.
In addition, you can avoid paying for gifts by giving the special people in your life more of your time or doing something nice for them. For example, you can offer to walk your friend’s dog, babysit, or do chores for people with busy, stressful schedules.
6. Get Free Shipping
Many companies offer free shipping during the holidays, even if they don’t throughout the rest of the year. Try only shopping from online companies that offer free shipping to help you save on shipping costs. This can help you save hundreds of dollars if you shop from multiple websites.
7. Shop Early
Shopping early will ensure you get everyone a gift they’ll love. If you wait too long, you could run out of time. In addition, you never know what could happen to prevent you from getting everyone gifts. For example, if you wait until the last minute and a snowstorm causes a blackout, you won’t be able to do any holiday shopping.
You should shop early for many reasons, but the biggest benefit is that it can save you money. The closer you get to the holidays, the more expensive gifts will become. However, the earlier you shop, the more you can save. Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to save money on everything from electronics to household products. However, you can also find the best deals on presents throughout the year as long as you know what to look for. For example, you can usually find great deals on technology in the late summer and early fall when computers go on sale as students go back to school.
8. Find Secondhand Gifts
Shopping secondhand is always an option if you want to save on gifts and give your loved one’s products they love at a lower cost. Books, handbags, jewelry, and clothing are much cheaper if you buy them secondhand, and it’s an eco-friendly way of shopping during the holidays. You can find secondhand gifts anywhere, including online stores, thrift shops, and Amazon.
The holidays are an expensive time for everyone, especially large families who have to shop for multiple gifts for their loved ones. Everything from holiday dinner to a gift for everyone can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Finding new ways to save money should be a top priority this year, so keep these tips in mind when you’re ready to start shopping.