With the holiday season just around the corner, many families will have a difficult time planning for the increase cost of the holiday season (especially those with children!) Consumers are evaluating their holiday shopping budget and wondering how they can participate in the gift of holiday giving without going broke or getting into debt.
Tight Budgets Can Add Significant Stress to the Holidays
Many people spend well beyond their means during the Christmas season, and find themselves paying for holiday debt well into the New Year – and indeed into the years to come. With job uncertainty and unemployment soaring, many consumers are finding themselves on a tight budget, causing holiday shopping to become extremely stressful, frustrating and confusing.
Thankfully, the festive spirit does not depend on the richness of one’s pocketbook or bank account. Not only is it very possible to cover your shopping list on a limited budget, but it is possible and extremely gratifying to give heartfelt, meaningful gifts to friends and loved ones.
Whether you have a green thumb, can sew, draw, paint, cook, bake, take photographs or play music, nothing is as valuable as your time, so spending time and energy creating homemade gifts is a fantastic way to give unique, popular and sincere gifts that will save your budget and keep your costs down. Check out our site for many ideas for inexpensive, homemade Christmas gifts!
2. Edit Your Shopping List
Do you really need to give a gift to each clerk at the supermarket? Giving should be fun, but not everyone needs or expects a personal gift. And not everyone needs multiple or expensive gifts. Evaluate your list every year, and consider simply sending a thoughtful handwritten card or holiday note to casual acquaintances.
3. Think Outside the Box
Get your creative holiday juices flowing when planning your holiday shopping strategy. In fact, you may not need to shop at all! Throw a party and have everyone bring a dish, or plan a games night. What could be more special or refreshing than providing lifelong memories as gifts rather than an unwanted gift that will end up re-gifted or sold on eBay. Think outside the shopping mall and consider what will be meaningful for your family.
4. Give Action-Based Coupons
This works best for family and close friends, and is especially appropriate for a spouse, significant other, parent or child. Create a coupon (or coupon book) on the computer or from craft supplies. Each coupon can be redeemed for a specified favor, activity, or treat. Think about what would be meaningful and have fun with it.
5. Buy Early (or Late)
Shop throughout the year and hunt down specials and sales. And for the year’s best discounts, do next year’s holiday shopping during the Boxing Day and post-season sales when prices are slashed. If you’re really daring, leave your purchasing until the last minute when stores frequently deeply discount items, hoping to edge out a bit more profit before the end of the season.
6. Go Electronic
Opt for sending ecards instead of paper cards to as many people as possible. You can often customize ecards with your own photos, and sites like hallmark.com offer free ecards in a variety of styles, allowing you to save on cards, envelopes, stamps and car trips!
7. Save on Wrapping
Be kind to the environment and your wallet this year by getting creative with how you package your presents. Butcher or craft paper is inexpensive and can be easily dressed up with stencils and reusable fabric ribbon. Or sew up some fabric gift bags as a reusable gift packaging option.