10.. 9.. 8.. Yes, there are only 10 weeks left ’till Christmas!
Are you financially prepared for the Holidays yet? Do you have a Christmas savings plan in place?
Christmas is about family and spending quality time with your loved ones. More often than not though, Christmas is also about spending money.
Celebrating the winter Holidays without drilling a hole in your budget is not uncommon.
If you don’t have children just yet or have friends and family who share your ‘passion’ for frugality, you’re all set for a fun frugal Christmas!
Most people though, get carried away by the Holiday shopping frenzy! Being financially unprepared for the winter holidays has become a common habit among many families.
As a result, shopping for gifts can easily turn into serious and unwanted debt.
That’s not what Christmas is about and surely nobody wants to start the New Year with a negative balance.
5 tips to save money this Christmas
1. Start saving on a weekly basis
There are 10 good weeks left to save, save, save.
You could either create a savings plan and stick to it, or you could simply save as much as you can, week by week.
Just by brown bagging your lunch to work, you could save at least $50 in one week. Carpool or use public transportation to save another $20 or so on gas.
Selling clothes for cash is also a good way to add to your budget. If you don’t need your old clothes anymore, you could easily sell them online and make some money while you’re at it.
Here’s a list of expenses to cut and save money. Any money you don’t spend you could put into your savings jar (or account).
Don’t touch that money though!
Remember you’re saving it to buy presents and put food on the Christmas table.
2. Create your own Santa’s list
It’s always best to plan ahead, so knowing who gets a present this year could help you budget better.
Make a list of everyone you plan to buy a present for. How many people made it on Santa’s list?
If your list is too long, maybe it’s time to get into a Grinch mood and re-think everything.
Does everyone need to get a present? Are you really that close to everybody?
Take a good look at the list again and see if there’s a way to shorten it.
Instead of buying presents for everyone you know, why not give them a call or shoot them an e-mail to let them know you appreciate their friendship? It’s a nice gesture and it’s free!
It’s really not worth getting into debt because you forgot to buy a gift for your neighbor you rarely even say ‘hello’ to!
3. Create a shopping budget
As Christmas is approaching, you probably already have a couple ideas about what kind of gifts you’ll hand out this year.
In order to avoid becoming broke, creating a budget should help a great deal!
When you created your list of people to give presents too, you probably started with your most loved ones.
Have a clear budget in place to cover buying presents for the most important people on your list.
Budget accordingly for the rest and stick to your plan!
4. Look for sales and special discounts
Once you have a budget in place, you can safely start looking for what to buy.
Buying a Christmas present weeks in advance is not uncommon. If you find something loved one might like and it’s on sale, go ahead and buy it!
Take advantage of the sales period, Black Friday deals especially!
If you find something great your children or close friends might like, why not buy it for a fraction of the price?
Make sure you don’t buy more than you need though. Black Friday sales are great, but it’s easy to get carried away and spend more than you budgeted for!
Shopping online could also save you a lot of time and money.
Often times, you could find a great deal online, while the same product might cost more when bought from a store.
Not only that, but shopping from home helps you avoid the cheerful displays and Holiday themed music designed to make you want to buy more!
Pay attention to shipping costs though. And avoid buying more stuff just to benefit from free shipping. It’s not always worth the hassle!
5. Consider DIY gifts
If you’re unable to save a whole lot of money until the Holidays, consider creating your own gifts!
If you have the skills, make time to craft something unique for your loved ones!
Knitting is something you could try out. It’s perfect for the winter season!
Personally, I’ve learned how to knit and have made some awesome scarfs, mittens & wool socks for my loved ones a couple years back.
Money was tight but I couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to buy anything for my closest friends and family members.
I ‘invested’ a few bucks and got knitting needles and wool, and started knitting my presents in early October.
Making your own preserves or Christmas cookies is also an awesome gift idea!
Some of my friends adopted this ‘tradition’ and, frankly, I always look forward to receiving their gift basket for Christmas!
A jar of preserves, nicely decorated, and a bag of delicious cookies are perfect for creating a nice, personalized gift for someone you care about!
With consumerism surrounding us every step of the way, receiving a hand made and original gift doesn’t happen very often.
Christmas is an amazing and magical Holiday! Even if you’re not a kid anymore.
Unfortunately, many make the mistake of applying for loans to celebrate it or get into credit card debt just so they could offer ‘cool’ gifts to everyone they care about.
While being generous when shopping for gifts is nice and all, ending up with money problems the minute Christmas is over is definitely not worth it.
Plan everything ahead of time and avoid panicking at the last minute.
Save money starting as soon as possible, have a clear budget and stick to it and focus on what matters most: spending quality time with the people you love!
Have you already started planning your Christmas shopping list?