The holidays are a joyous time of year when family and friends come together to celebrate and enjoy each others company. But along with that comes the headache of gift-giving. With a large list of people to buy for this holiday season, it’s easy to overspend on holiday gifts. The following five tips will help you keep your holiday spending in order, so you don’t spend the next six months paying off your credit card bills.
1. Make A List
Make a list, check it twice and for goodness sakes, stick to it! Add people you plan on buying a present for on this list. Rethink the people on the list and decide if you really need to buy them a holiday gift. Only the closest people to you deserve a present. Minimizing the number of gifts you need to buy is by far the easiest way to save money on gift-giving.
2. Set A Budget
You’ll want to determine a ceiling for holiday gift giving to avoid overspending and to make sure there are no hurt feelings. Group people into categories and set the budget for everyone in a particular category at the same rate. For example, siblings get $30 each, while parents are $50 each, or whatever you are comfortable with. Having a clear budget in mind will not only help you avoid overspending, it will also narrow down your gift choices.
3. Shop The Sales
During the holidays there are always tons of sales going on. Take advantage of promotions and discounts to get the most bang for your buck. If you’re brave, head out on Black Friday to score the best deals of the year on the gifts your friends and family want the most, but beware, some stores lure you in with black friday specials while they increase the price on their other items. The trick is to make a list of what items you’re going for, organize them in order of importance, and stick to the list. Be prepared for long lines and sold out stores. Go early and be thorough. If you’re looking for a big ticket item that’s sure to be a big seller, it may be beneficial to go the day before and grill the employees about the placement of the item.
4. Get Creative
Giving a great gift can mean a variety of different things. For example, a wine lover might like a gift basket containing wine glasses from the dollar store, crackers, cheese and an inexpensive bottle of wine more than they would enjoy an expensive vintage that they feel they must save for a special occasion. Think carefully about each person on your list, and choose gifts they’ll love instead of gifts you think will impress them.
5. “Yankee Swap”
Consider doing a yankee swap instead of giving gifts to everyone. For a yankee swap, a limit is sent and each person participating brings a gift in that price range to the party. Then, numbers are drawn from a hat containing enough numbers for each person in the group. Starting with the person who got the first number, a wrapped gift is selected and unwrapped. The next person to go chooses another gift and has the option to keep it or swap it with one of the gifts opened before their turn. The last person to go opens the last gift and can either keep it or exchange it with any of the other gifts. Bring unique and creative gifts, and this fun game is sure to become a family tradition!
Saving money during the holidays is easy with a little bit of creativity. There are plenty of ways to stretch your gift giving budget, and to restrain yourself from going overboard. Take the time to make a list, shop the sales, and hunt down the best bargains to make these holidays the best yet. With a clear plan in mind, you should escape the holiday season with less headaches and more money in your wallet.