It’s hard to save money on Christmas, but you can do it. Here are ten simple tips to help you stay on budget this holiday season.
It’s easy to spend like crazy during the holiday season. Post-holiday debt is the worst feeling when a huge credit card bill comes in January. You may have been expecting a little bill, but December can get out of hand quickly.
Here are a few saving tips, reminders, and motivation to get you through without breaking the bank and save money this year on your Christmas shopping.
10 ways to save money on Christmas
Don’t buy yourself anything
OK- This is hard because you are seeing so many good deals out there. Do you really need a new scarf or gloves? Do you need a new pair of pajamas? If the price is right and you REALLY do need them, get them. If you just want it, DON’T! When I went through all my receipts one year, I realized that half the money I spent was on myself!
Eat before you go out shopping
Sometimes it’s nice to have a coffee while out or a little snack and that’s ok. A big money waste is going out and spending lots of money on a fancy dinner every time you are shopping. That adds up quickly.
Avoid purchasing Christmas decorations
Sometimes you can’t help but be drawn into some of the cutest decorations for your mantel or table. DON’T DO IT! In about 6 weeks those same items will be 1/2 off. Make sure you leave some money in your budget for the after-Christmas sales! I just bought several Halloween decorations for half price.
Be realistic with your Christmas budget
Don’t just randomly sit down and put down numbers. Sit down and think of everyone on your list. It’s okay if this process takes a few days. You can add and subtract and change numbers if you need to. Look back at your bills from the previous year to help get a picture of what you spent last year and where you can make cuts. Your goal should be a debt-free Christmas season.
Make sure you budget for everything
I learned this the hard way and I usually add to this category every year. Make sure you budget for your tree, haircuts, Christmas clothes for the kids, gifts for when you go to parties, teacher gifts, and Christmas cards. Those things add up quickly!
Stick with your budget
This can be SUPER hard when you find a gift that you know someone will love, but it’s just over your price range. I know you’ll probably say to yourself that you will spend less in another area, but that never works out, does it. You made a budget, now stick to it! Gift cards are a great way to go if your budget is tight because you won’t go over.
Pay Cash- Have a debt free Christmas.
If you have the cash, USE IT! DO NOT USE CREDIT CARDS! It’s not fun to see a big credit card bill in January. We pay our credit card off every month, but sometimes we’re surprised at how much is on it. You lose track of what you’re spending and that’s easy at Christmas when you’re spending more than normal.
It may be too late to start saving for Christmas this year, but start saving now for next year using the envelope method. Get this great Christmas savings planner.
You can also open a new Christmas savings account and do an automatic transfer every month. I do this already. My savings account charged a fee, but if I did an auto transfer they waived it. It’s like a double savings. Any extra money helps, even $10.
Christmas Shop Early
Some people shop all year. I don’t do that, but I usually start thinking about Christmas spending after Halloween. You can start browsing the Internet and get ideas for all the gifts you need to buy. I like to go out before Thanksgiving when the stores aren’t as crowded.
Don’t pay for shipping
I know you’ll do a lot of shopping online. There are so many companies that have free shipping between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Don’t waste your money on shipping charges.
Make sure you can return any Christmas gifts free of charge too!
Downsize your holiday
Just some years you just don’t have the money or your saving for vacation or house projects. You shouldn’t feel bad about it. Remember it’s the thought that counts. You don’t have to buy a huge tree, get a smaller one. Don’t send out Christmas cards. Decorate with what you have.
The three gift rule is a great tradition to start with your kids.