This is the time of year when the Holidays are quickly approaching and emotional spending can get us into debt. A debt we didn’t think was possible. January leads to remorse and scrambling of how we can come up with extra cash.
Apply the practical tips below and you won’t be looking for a second job in the new year!
Set Spending Limit
I know this is usually the first thing on every list. I avoided the word budget, but really you need to make a budget of how much you have to spend. Holiday shopping is usually spent on others and not yourself, so make a list of who you are giving gifts to in priority.
That means it would go something like this:
and anything after can be if the budget allows.
Co-workers, Teachers, Neighbors etc.
Don’t start your list with a huge amount of people try to figure out how much you can spend and get frustrated you don’t have enough money for everyone.
Gifts do not need to be extravagant.
Give Thought to Gifts Early
We all know Christmas is the same date every year- December 25th. You have a whole year to plan for it. Pay attention to what your family is telling you they like or would love to have. Make special notes of it. The best gifts are thoughtful gifts, right?
It takes time to find out and listen to what your loved ones would enjoy.
Its stressful and will bring on buyers remorse when you are scrambling to find something two days before Christmas, and the person who receives it just gives a quick ‘Thanks.”
If you are going to spend your hard earned cash you want it to be something they love.
Start shopping early. The best sales start in October and it’s a great time to look for deals on items or start making your own.
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Make Your Own Gifts
Long gone are the days of people thinking you made them a gift because you are broke! Homemade gifts are usually the most thoughtful because that person was probably thinking of you everytime the worked on the gift.
If you are planning on making something for your loved ones this year be sure to give yourself enough time and plan for all the expenses of the supplies you need to make it. I’ve been there seeing cute gift ideas in magazines and running to Michaels to get my supplies and realizing I don’t have enough, or I spent way more than if I just bought it on clearance!
Sometimes homemade gifts aren’t worth the extra stress if you are just finding something quick to make to save money and you really have no idea how to do it. What I mean is don’t decide you will learn how to sew and make pillows for everyone a few weeks before Christmas and hope you just have the natural ability!
Yes, that was me, and you may have the natural ability, but just a heads up for those who are in the same boat as I am.
Don’t Give the Gift of Stuff
We can quickly get caught up in our stuff. Materialistic stuff right? I’ve written a whole post on how to stop being an emotional spender because I know the struggle.
Think about if the person needs more “stuff.” The trinkets that just sit around, OR could you give the gift of an experience? This goes for your kids, nieces, nephews, parents etc. What if you gave the gift of doing something together and making memories instead of stuff?
Only Buy What You Need
Holiday sales are good I know that. Yet, if January is your money hangover month, only buy what you need. Only buy for those you must. Only buy what is in your budget. Bring cash and your list to the store with you when you shop so you aren’t tempted to buy something that is on sale for someone you probably could give to at work.
Know Your Why
Buying gifts for Christmas can become a habit we don’t even realize. Where we just go and start buying gifts for so and so because we always have. Really think about why you want to give that person a gift. This will help when you are looking for the thoughtful gift. When you know why you are spending money on someone, it helps to define the dollar spent and the type of gift you want to give.
Tell Others What You Want or Don’t Want
When it comes to saving money during the holidays you can help out your friends and family by sharing items you would really enjoy or need. Give them ideas and if you know they are in a harder situation let them know you may just want to have them over for dinner one night. Help others shop for you.