How to Handle Christmas On a Budget
Christmas is all about spreading love and cheer. It’s about the trees, the carols, the lights, the gifts, and the shopping. It’s a beautiful season that can also be very expensive.
It is one of the biggest holidays in the year, and studies have shown that the average American tends to splurge and overspend while preparing for this season.
It may seem impossible, but with some creativity and discipline, you can have a wonderful Christmas without breaking the bank.
It’s never too early to start preparing for Christmas. Early preparation helps you set money aside on time and even gets you good deals before the prices get hiked up for the season. These ideas will save you and your family some money without sacrificing the ultimate Christmas experience.
Follow our advice, and you can still have a frugal yet memorable holiday.
Write Out a Christmas Budget
Be honest with yourself. How much can you afford to spend this holiday?
Be detailed in your planning. Write out the budget for decorations, gifts, cards,
If you’re more technologically inclined, apps like EveryDollar and Mint help you create a budget for special events like Christmas. With these apps you can access your bank accounts and credit card balance.
You can also easily project your spending and know when to put a lid on it.
While creating a budget for Christmas, remember to set aside a reasonable amount of money for miscellaneous expenses and unforeseen contingencies as it is possible you won’t remember every expense you may incur.
A smart shopper never misses a good bargain. Why should you pay $50 for an item you can buy for $12?
A good discount shopper understands the importance of research. Getting good deals requires a lot of time and dedication to comb the internet for the cheapest options. For example, if you are trying to buy a cute skirt for your niece from ASOS, you should try to google ‘ASOS valid promo codes’ and see what comes up. You might be lucky to get 25% off your item. This trick works for most retailers.
Online shopping may also be a better option for you because a lot of stores have free coupons and discount codes, especially during the holiday season!
They try to encourage people to shop online than in-store with these codes and freebies. With online shopping for gifts, you also save on the cost of wrapping a present and sending to a loved one. Just be sure to look for websites that offer gift wrapping and free shipping.
Some brands also send promo codes in the newsletters as long as you are subscribed to their mailing list.
And if online shopping is not your strong suit or you prefer to walk into stores, discount stores like Marshalls and Ross will save you some money.
Shopping online also gives you the advantage of getting cashback — websites like Rakuten, Ibotta, and Swagbucks. Your cashback is in the form of points that can be redeemed for either cash or gift cards depending on the platform you use.
You get paid to buy the items you would buy already, that way, you’re saving money and adhering to your Christmas shopping list and budget.
Some of these platforms even pay you to complete micro-tasks or to take surveys and earn a little extra cash on the side. What a jolly good time!
7 Ways to Budget and Shop for Christmas Gifts
Gifts are a significant part of Christmas. After all, it’s the season of giving. But you don’t have to empty your wallet to put a smile on people’s faces. Below are some low budget gift ideas that will come in handy.
1. Buy your gifts at thrift stores
Sometimes, you find diamonds in the rough. Thrift stores are popular for second-hand items, but if you are thorough and take your time searching, you’ll find cheap but thoughtful gifts in goodwill. Toys, vases, books and frames are items you can buy here. People may not appreciate a second-hand cashmere sweater, it’s better to focus on items you don’t have to wear.
2. Gifts can be acts of service too
You don’t have to spend money to gift with people your time. You can offer to watch your neighbor’s kids or bake your co-worker a cake in January. This saves you some money, but the disadvantage of this is that you have to put in the work. Make this fun by designing a homemade gift certificate with a date to be redeemed. This way, you won’t forget the promise you’ve made.
Regifting means taking a gift you’ve received and giving it to someone else as a new gift. Someone else probably needs that croc pot more than you do if it has been sitting in a box for a whole year.
For the sake of courtesy, only regift new items and make sure the person who originally gave you the gift and the new recipient do not know each other.
It’s also not advisable to regift heirlooms and objects of sentimental value.
With this, you don’t have to spend a dime.
4. DIY Christmas gifts
Get creative and make a handmade gift for your loved ones. You can knit a new scarf for your grandparents, a customized phone case for your teenage daughter or a personal photo album for your spouse. DIY gifts are mostly thoughtful because you consider the character of the receiver while creating them. They’re the perfect holiday gifts because they’re inexpensive and thoughtful.
Someone who genuinely loves you and understand the significance of the season would not mind if you get them a GUCCI bag or a second-hand music box. In the end, it’s the thought that counts, right?
5. Start shopping way before Christmas
The worst time to start shopping for Christmas is in December. Retailers understand panic buying, and this informs their increased prices. Take advantage of Small Business Saturday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. These days are notorious for ridiculously low prices.
You should also use to good advantage December 14th, which is free shipping day to send your gift wherever you want at no cost at all.
Someone once said that the best time to buy Christmas items is in early January when the prices are lowered because nobody needs the tree and the lights at that time of the year. This may pose a storage problem, but if you’ve got a big garage or storeroom, you should be just fine.
Buying Christmas gifts all through the year also saves you the inconvenience of shopping all at once and spending a lot of money.
6. Save on trees and decorations
You don’t have to buy a new Christmas tree every year. Proper care and storage of the tree from last year will make it viable enough to endure another 30-35 days.
Always store your decorations from the previous year properly so you can reuse them. If you have to get new decorations, visit the thrift store or classified advertising websites like ‘Craiglist’ and ‘Letgo.’ Chances are you’ll find some decorations for free or a budget-friendly price.
If you’re up for it, you can go on an adventure and cut your tree. You can also buy a pre-cut one from sellers who encourage haggling.
DIY decorations are also a good way for the family to bond. Task the children with stringing some popcorn and cranberries together for the Christmas tree. Make a clear tree ornament with old snow globes. There’s no better way to have fun while saving money and spending time with your family.
7. Adopt inexpensive Christmas traditions
Christmas traditions don’t have to involve spending a great deal of money. The season is about your family and your friends, and nothing is worth more than the moments you share.
3 Bonus Ways to Handle Christmas on a Budget
1. Have a Christmas carol at home
It’s not about who has the sweetest voice or who sings off the note. It’s about sharing laughter and beautiful memories with your children and your spouse. Teach everyone a carol and sing it together by the Christmas tree. You can even film it and include it in your e-cards to friends and family.
2. Watch a classic Christmas movie at home
This is cheaper than going to the movies. You can all curl up under your favorite blanket, drink some hot chocolate, and watch a family-friendly movie. Some movies you can watch are The Grinch or Home Alone.
3. Host a cookie exchange or a potluck
The more, the merrier. It’s the season to share. Send out an invite to your close friends and neighbors, inviting them to a potluck or cookie exchange. You can even suggest what each person should bring to encourage variety.
This is also a great night to play some games and have stimulating conversations.
You don’t have to dread your Christmas shopping just because you are on a budget. You can still enjoy this beautiful holiday and make beautiful memories without stacking up credit cards debts. Resist the pressure to spend all your money during Christmas.
Remember, Christmas is Christmas all the same. Here are some other articles that relate really well for this article too that will help with your Christmas experience this year!
‘Tis the season to be merry, we hope this helps!🎄🎄