10 Ways to Save for the Holidays: How to Control Your Holiday Budget
Many people find themselves in the difficult position of having a limited budget for gifts during the holiday season. This can be hard when you have friends and family members who want to give great presents, but you just don't have enough money to do so.
The good news is that there are many ways that you can save money while still giving high-quality gifts to your loved ones! The holiday season is a joyous time of year, and we want to make sure you can enjoy it without worrying about money.
In this article, we will discuss 10 different ideas for saving money on Christmas and holiday shopping!
Plan your holiday budget before you start shopping
Planning your holiday budget ahead of time is one of the best ways to save money. Before you start shopping, make a list and do some research on how much each item costs, as well as which stores offer them at the lowest prices. This will help ensure that you're getting the most for your money.
Start by making a list of what people on your gift-giving list want or need this year. You'll find it's actually pretty easy to come up with ideas if you get a little creative. Think about clothes, home decor (rugs, pillows), kitchenware (pots and pans), electronics (FireStick, iPads, and TVs), etc.
Shop early and often. The best thing about this is that you'll be able to find great deals on holiday items during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you're a really big planner, check out bargain deals right after the holidays for next year's gifts!
Shop around for the best prices and discounts
Don't just look at one store – check them all out online or physically go into stores and see what kinds of Christmas gifts they have available before making a final decision on how much money you're going to spend overall. Get good discounts by buying in bulk (if possible) and check different types of retailers for holiday sale prices on items you know people will love!
Local stores may have unique deals, while online retailers may offer free shipping and other incentives. Do plenty of research and plan your trips accordingly so you can make multiple stops in one day (and save money on gas too!)
Also try bargain retail stores such as Ross, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and many others. You can usually find new name-brand items for sale at a fraction of the retail price at major retailers.
Consider buying used gifts, especially if it's something that won't be used often
Shop at Goodwill (or Goodwill Boutique), Salvation Army, or consignment stores! You will be amazed at what you can find. If you keep an eye out, you will be surprised what you can find at these stores. Most of the time you can find lightly used or brand new items that your friends and family will love!
Many major retailers clear their old inventory by donating their outdated, last-year's-style items to these organizations, where you can find brand new items at incredible prices.
Sometimes with consignment stores, you can negotiate the price, especially if you are purchasing multiple items or items that have been sitting there for a while. There are quite a few consignment stores, so shop around your area and see what you can find.
Set a spending limit on yourself and stick to it!
A lot of people spend way too much money on Christmas and holiday gifts, so here are a few ideas for how to save money while on a limited budget and still be able to give great gifts for their family and friends.
To start, you need to decide what your budget is. You want to have enough money for everyone that you are buying gifts for, but also keep in mind the number of people that you are shopping for! After you've figured out your budget, it's time to start shopping.
The best thing about this is that you'll be able to find great deals on holiday items during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But you can also plan ahead and shop on special occasions such as Amazon Prime Day (typically occurs in July) or a Buy One Get One Free event at your favorite retailer. Just keep your eyes and ears open for these events!
Give homemade gifts as much as possible or give cash instead of presents (you can always buy a gift card)
Giving someone a homemade gift is always a good idea, as it shows how much you care about them and that you put effort and time into their gift over just buying something at a store.
With that in mind, here are a couple of great gift ideas you can give for the holidays:
Mint Sugar Scrub
Microwave thick coconut oil until it's fully melted (about 30 seconds), then mix in sugar, peppermint extract, and food coloring into the melted coconut. It should turn into a nice, soft sugar scrub. Put the mix in a nice glass jar. For an added touch, tie an antique-looking metal spoon to the top of the jar that can be used to scoop out the scrub.
Old Holiday Mug Candles
Use your old Holiday mugs to create fun candles! Start with your mug and candlewick by hot-gluing the wick to the center of the bottom of the mug. Prepare the wax (soy wax is a good choice) by microwaving it (in a glass measuring cup with a pour spout) until it's completely melted, stirring regularly.
Add the fragrance of your choosing, but I recommend holiday-themed scents! Use two to three ounces of fragrance for each pound of wax and mix in by stirring.
Lay a pencil across the top of the mug and secure the wick so it stays center. Make sure your wick is long enough to wrap the pencil a few times. Then carefully pour the wax into the mug until about a half to a quarter of an inch is left. The wax will need to cool for one to two hours before you can remove the pencil. Once the wax has cooled, you can trim down the wick to about a half-inch.
One pound of wax can usually fill two mugs, so I recommend you evenly pour them so they match (especially if the mugs are not the same size.) If you plan on making quite a few of these, I'd recommend you plan ahead and purchase enough supplies in advance.
Plan an inexpensive holiday party with friends and family
Instead of giving gifts, try planning a fun and inexpensive holiday party! You could even host it and have it be a potluck! Set a spending limit on yourself and stick to it (and make sure you tell your friends about it!) If everyone brings an item for the party, then there will be plenty of food!
Since you are hosting this event at home, think about what items or decorations can double as both gifts or decor. For example, if someone is coming over with their significant other (or even children,) you could give them matching mugs for hot chocolate filled with marshmallows and peppermint sticks sticking out of each cup. Then tell them to use those same cups in place of regular drinking glasses during the holiday party itself. It's useful, less wasteful and there's a take-home gift, too!
Make a list of all the people you need to buy presents for, then prioritize the type of gift based on who they are
You don't have to spend the same amount of money on co-workers as you would your family, so why not plan in advance and create a list by order of importance and spending limit. For example, you can determine what kinds of gifts you want to give to your family and friends, but you could also determine other types of gifts for your co-workers.
If you want to splurge a little more on your spouse (which is recommended!), then you could set aside a larger budget for that person. However, if you think your family would prefer handmade gifts more than purchased gifts, then you can adjust your list accordingly. Every family member, friend and co-worker could have different preferences and tastes, so each list may be completely unique to your gifting needs.
Buy items in bulk when they are on sale and store them away for later use (eg., wrapping paper)
Costco and bulk retailers can potentially be a beautiful thing when you are looking for holiday items in bulk, especially when it comes to gift-giving supplies and holiday decorations. You can purchase Christmas and holiday cards in bulk, as well as wrapping paper, gift bows, garland, and much more.
And if you are planning on purchasing the same type of gifts for a group of people, bulk retailers usually have plenty of options for that. From holiday mugs and plates, to cases of wine, there are plenty of options available to choose from!
Share one gift between two people - eg., buy one present for a couple, rather than two separate gifts
Buying or making gifts for a lot of people can be stressful and expensive, so sometimes it's better and more realistic to shop for gifts for all the couples in your life! Why not find a nice photo frame with the happy couple in it (or of yourself and your significant other). Or you can create custom photo mugs, metal prints, canvas prints, etc. to make it more personal.
You can go the sweet-tooth route and get a set of chocolates, macarons, cookies, or other delectable treats that the couple can enjoy. Or pair it with a set of matching mugs with their favorite beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic!)
Though it's not as personal, a nice holiday or Christmas card with a gift card inside is always a practical gift! Purchase a gift card to the couple's favorite restaurant, or if they're new homeowners, give them a home decorating store gift card.
Do a gift exchange instead of getting a present for each person
Gift exchanges are not only inexpensive, but they can be creative, fun, and exciting! Whether you decide to have a Secret Santa or have a White Elephant gift exchange, you can never have too much fun with either option.
With a Secret Santa gift exchange, you start out by putting your name written on a piece of paper in a "hat" (or any container). Once everyone has their name inside, you mix up the names and draw out a random name as you pass the "hat" back around. It's a complete surprise to the gift receiver, as they don't know who picked them. It's a really fun way to get to know others and try to find out their likes and dislikes without giving away the secret.
With a White Elephant gift exchange, you each bring a fun (or funny) gift around a certain predetermined dollar amount that is wrapped. You place the gift in the center of the room and everyone draws a number from a "hat" (see above!) When it's your turn to go, you either pick a gift in the center or you can "steal" a gift that has already been taken from a previous player. Once everyone has had their turn, the first play can then choose to keep their gift or exchange it with anyone else's. This game is usually met with a lot of laughs!
The holiday season is a time for giving and spending, but it can also be stressful. These ten ways to save for the holidays should help you enjoy this festive time of year without breaking the bank or your sanity.
Which tip are you excited to start using?