Purchasing Christmas gifts for all your loved ones can lead to a happy season.
The commercialization of the season encourages you to buy-buy, which means that many of us spend too much or even become indebted. Your gifts may bring a smile to your face – but at what price?
Think about some of your holiday shopping plans if you want to survive Christmas on a budget. Here are seven tactics that you can spend less.
7 Gifting Strategies to celebrate Christmas on a budget
1. Shopping with cash.
Embrace a Cash Envelope Budget for holiday expenses. Find out how much you would like to spend on gifts this year and deduct this amount from your bank account. Then pay gifts only with this cash. Once the money is gone, the time has come. Leave your debit and credit cards at home if you think you're tempted to swipe. You will be forced to think strategically about what you are buying, but thankfully you are not exceeding your budget.
2. Limit your Christmas list.
Be selective of who you buy gifts for. You may get something for your parents, but do not give gifts to your siblings. Let your loved ones know that you are celebrating Christmas on a budget this year. If you want to minimize the inconvenience of having nothing to exchange, you can get a box of Christmas cards, write a sweet personal message in the box, and stick a candy cane on the envelope.
3. Join the group and place your Christmas shopping list.
This can be done in different ways. You can choose a gift to gift a group of people – like a family board game for your nieces and nephews – instead of buying each one of them. You could attend a secret Santa Claus or similar gift exchange with a nominal spending threshold. Or you can make a group make a larger purchase. For example, if you want to buy a present for your child's teacher, have some parents donate a few dollars to get something nice.
4. Try the four-gift rule.
If you tend to spend too much on your children, you'll look slimmer this year. Just buy four things instead of removing everything from your kids' wish list – something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Your children will still receive a variety of gifts (and probably additional things from their grandparents), and from December 25 you will no longer be charged credit card fees.
5. Used to shop.
A gift does not have to be brand new to be new to the recipient. Think of vintage clothing for your fashion-conscious friend, or softly loved toys for your toddler who does not even know it's second-hand. According to a recent survey of the used-car app Mercari, three out of five Americans feel comfortable giving a second-hand gift. One thing about used treasures: you do not even have to buy something. Get an overview of unused items you have at home, or see if there's anything interesting to get from your local Buy Nothing Group.
These advantages and disadvantages Christmas shopping in a Thrift shop helps you to choose the perfect second hand gift.
6. Make your own gifts.
For every skill level there is a DIY Christmas present (or a DIY gift for stockings). Add hot cocoa mix to the jars to celebrate Christmas on a budget. Knit a scarf if you are a seasoned hobbyist. Although you still spend money on supplies, you are likely to pay less than equivalents purchased in the store. And homemade gifts show the thought you put into the gift – and it's the thought that counts.
7. Rethink the experience gift.
Deciding on experiences and not material items is becoming more and more popular, but concert tickets or theme park passes are no easier on the wallet. Instead, think about your abilities to find out what you can offer your family and friends that can not be wrapped and tied with a bow. Repeat your best friend's CV or hold a single cookery course for your brother.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer with The Penny Hoarder.
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