Ho! Ho! HO…LY COW is it seriously Christmas time already? There is a lot of pressure to buy, buy, buy and unless you want an eggnog and credit card hangover, we frugal folks have to be mindful while we shop and apply frugal shopping tips to stay on budget despite the pressure.
Everyone seems to get the same headache when it comes to this time of year, so how to cope? Before I tell you my favorite budget-saving holiday strategies, I polled my Twitter friends to see how they manage to keep the holidays merry on a budget-
“I make a budget. I get paid every other week so I budget $100 or less for Christmas gifts per check. And I talk to my friends and set budgets on Christmas gifts. Usually around $20. Sometimes it’s an awkward conversation but it is necessary!” –@CarolynShea
“Not buying presents but taking the fam to D.C. instead. Savings of $500. When I asked if the kids were on board for travel instead of presents, she replied “yes in lieu of gifts. There’s five kids and they each get 2 pick a place to visit. Theyre excited 2 go.” –@MayNTot
“We’re doing the bulk of our shopping on Black Friday (which is an obvious savings). Also handmaking all of the adult gifts. My husband is a deal fanatic. He has scoured the ads everyday since there release. We have made lists on what we want to get and where, then check to see if anywhere has it cheaper.” –@AdalyMilesPlace
Many people get trapped into credit card debt during the holiday season because they are provoked to act quickly or at the last minute by savvy marketers, peer pressure or busy holiday schedules. Being frugal during the holidays goes against the impulse-buy, frantic shopper mindset.
With just a bit of patience, planning and avoiding the “one-size fits all” marketing mindset, you can have a very merry Christmas full of memories and gifts that are created to be treasured, not cause stress!
“All Good Gifts” include edibles, high-end candles, bath items or creative DIY gifts that people love- soup or cookie mixes in a jar, movie night gift baskets, framed pictures. Whether you make it yourself or get it for cheap, stocking up will save you time and money. We snagged Yankee Candles 2-for-1 a few weeks back and you bet your butt just about everyone will be getting a Yankee Candle. Just because you got a deal doesn’t mean the gift itself is cheap!
If you haven’t hit up a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s lately- you will be surprised to find how many gorgeous, high-end brands are available for 60% off. I nearly fell over when I found brands like Yankee Candle, Philosophy, Betsey Johnson, Essie and OPI. You can get the “awe factor” for a fraction of the price, nobody needs to know what you paid!
Most of us come into the holiday season feeling the pressure, assuming those around us are amped with expectation and driving us to buy. Would you be totally relieved if a family member or friend asked to go giftless or simply offered time with you instead of buying you a gift? Perhaps you should be the one to broach the subject, it may not be as scary as you think!
Think of Christmas last year, how many gifts went into the closet, junk drawers, trash or donate bags, never to be used or seen again? Do you ever wonder how many of your gifts have been regifted or collected dust? Ask your loved ones what your money could be better spent on, or what dream they would undertake if they just had the money. Your money gift may be small, but the impact can be big!
Regfiting gets cringes from some and sheepish grins from others. While you can easily recall about 5 things hiding in your closet that will continue the regifting cycle, have you ever considered regifting from the heart?
Putting a photo of an old friend in a nice frame, or compiling years of family history and photos on a CD isn’t expensive but has great impact. Additionally, if you are holding onto a special piece of your personal or family history – a grandmother’s brooch, your high school letterman jacket or a child’s teddy bear, maybe it’s time to give it as a gift along to someone who would value it, along with a written history so the recipient knows the significance.
Everyone has memorabilia junk they can’t let go of- shirts from drama productions, buttons from their grandma’s sewing collection, boxes full of photos they don’t want to tackle alone. If you’re at all crafty (or want to outsource to someone who is) old shirts can be made into quilts, buttons can be displayed in a shadow box and photos can be gorgeously scrapbooked. Doing so costs little money, cuts down on clutter and makes a gift they’re sure to appreciate!