I’m going to reveal a little something about myself…I love Christmas!! It is, hands-down, my favorite time of year, and I want to start celebrating in October to make it last as long as possible!! However, my husband keeps me tame and makes me wait to play my favorite Christmas tunes until November 1st (I’ve already tried and was shut. down.). This year is no exception. I. Can’t. WAIT!!
Despite my childlike anticipation, there’s nothing like money to make the holidays stressful. This year, we have another child to buy for, and as the primary budgeter in our household, the subject weighs on my mind.
If you’re like me, you love gift-giving. I enjoy every part of it: the hunt for the perfect gift, wrapping it, adding a ribbon for some flare, and then watching as my loved one opens it to reveal what I chose just for them. Each step is my favorite. But. The joy of the season is quickly robbed if our budget is tight and I’m stressed over the amount of we’ve spent.
I’ve implemented a few strategies over the years to help us decrease our spending during the holidays and would love to share them with you!!
- Game plan. Nate and I sit down each year and determine how much we want to spend per person. This is so helpful when I go to shop, because I have an established budget and don’t have to stand in TJ Maxx with my two kids under two trying to determine if this item is too expensive (talk about stressful). I simply look at our budget we’ve put into writing and say “yay” or “nay.” Done.
- Thrift shopping. Now, some of you are probably like, “EW.” Don’t check out just yet!! There are plenty of things that you can buy at thrift stores, garage sales, surplus stores, etc. that are perfectly fine for gift giving. For example, most of the large toys that my children own are used. The reason being, children go through toys fast because they outgrow them, they get tired of them, mom’s are like, “this toy makes too much noise and I am DONE,” and more. SO. When I am thinking of what I’d like to buy my kids for Christmas, I look at places that have used items. (For example, a friend was selling her child’s tool table and it was in beautiful condition. SG is never going to know the difference between a new tool table and the used one I bought for $35.) I always make sure that I can clean the item and that it’s still in good condition. You will save so much money if you start to think smart about your shopping and look for things that aren’t brand new. I promise!!
- Plan ahead. This is one of those “shady parent/friend” tips. Have you ever received a gift that maybe you didn’t love yourself but it would be perfect for a friend? Save it!! There is no shame in re-gifting if that person will truly love it. Otherwise, the item will most likely sit in your home unused and untouched for two years before you decide to take it to Goodwill. Put it to use before then! Another idea is to save baby gifts. We received several gifts this summer for ÉM that were perfect for the developmental stage she’ll be at in December. Rather than putting them in the basket with the other toys, I kept them back and plan to give them to her for Christmas this year. It saves me time and money, because I don’t have to add one more thing to my ever-growing Christmas gift list. Done.
- Shop before December!! This one has exclamation marks because it. is. KEY. To all you procrastinators out there, stop it!! You are most likely spending more by waiting until the last minute, not to mention you’re spending all your holiday hours in the stores with all the other procrastinators when you could be creating beautiful moments with your family. Here are some ideas on how to stop the cycle: 1. Start looking for sales and deals throughout the year. You don’t have to go crazy and shop in March if you don’t want to. BUT, starting in October is not unreasonable. Most stores will have good sales before December and you’ll be so thankful you started early. 2. Online/house parties. You know all those parties you’ve been invited to, like Norwex, Thirty-One Gifts, or Usborne? Start shopping for Christmas!! There have been numerous times where I’ve been invited to a party, and I hit a conundrum wall: I don’t want to spend money but I really want to support my friend and not be a party pooper. So guess what? I buy with a purpose. Your mom loves to shop at ALDI? Buy her a Thirty-One canvas bag for Christmas. Boom. You have kids? Buy some Usborne books and save them for their stocking. Double boom. This is a perfect way to hit two birds with one stone and you can stop feeling guilty about buying something you might not use just because you don’t want to say no (that’s another issue we’ll have to tackle later).
I hope this list gives you some ideas on how to start spending less during the holiday season by simply being smart throughout the year with your gift giving. Game plan with a budget, do some thrift shopping when possible, plan ahead throughout the year, and shop before December. And if this list is overwhelming, just pick one that you’ll stick with this year. It’s really not hard once you start changing your mindset. AND you might get so motivated that you’ll implement more than one!! You do you.
Tell me which of these you’re most excited about or what money-saving Christmas ideas have worked for you in the past. I need all the money-saving tips I can get!!