I LOVE Christmas! No, really I have a sign that says so😉
Ok enough messing around. Christmas shopping on a budget can feel really constricting. But as our family grows you have to put boundaries on that small piece of plastic that seems to be swiping itself through a card reader.
Don’t think of what I am about to share as a restricting budget but rather tips to help you get the most bang for your buck and to bring you mental peace this Christmas season.
Walking down the rows and rows of beautiful seasonal decor at Hobby Lobby makes my heart smile and I want to take home all the decor. But shopping for Christmas on a budget… Well, that can make you feel a whole host of emotions. You can feel rebellious, restrained, lacking, or even guilty.
Having a budget is not cheap or stingy. It is being responsible. Before you think there is no way you can shop for Christmas on a budget let me share with you some shopping tips to make you feel better about it.
Put Blinders On To What Others Are Doing
It is so easy to see what other people are spending on gifts through social media these days.
Or Getting a baker’s dozen of emails every day begging for you to type in your credit card number one last time with amazing deals just begging to be purchased.
If you start to feel a twinge when seeing sale items or marketing messages put your blinders on for the time being.
Unsubscribe from email lists that you won’t miss. — If you really love staying in the know about a certain brand then you can go find them again after the holidays.
Mute social accounts that are sharing things you might have a hard time resisting if you need to. — It doesn’t mean you don’t like that person anymore. You just need to keep focused on the main goal… Sticking to your budget.
Ignore what other people are doing and make YOUR Christmas the best it can be, whatever that looks like.
People outside of your home don’t have any idea what you are doing for the holidays. You’re not trying to measure up or outdo anyone.
Make A Christmas Gift List
Santa has a list so you need one too. Ok maybe that is silly but lists are a powerful tool for sssooooo many reasons. You know exactly what you need so you don’t buy more than you should.
You also can visually SEE how far you have gotten and have peace of mind that everything you need is purchased.
Everything from a list of people you need gifts for, food for the holiday meals, and décor should have a space on your list.
Having the Christmas shopping list will help you know what you need and where you need to go in each store. — This way you can stay out of the rows that tempt you to spend money you don’t want to.
Start Christmas Shopping Early
This one might seem like a no-brainer but so many people don’t do it. Make your Christmas shopping list early and here is why.
You are able to spread the expenses out over several months when you know what you need and you can keep an eye out for deals. Not having to spend a huge number all in the month of December will feel far less like a noose tightening around your neck and be more enjoyable.
Saving $42 every month for 12 months sounds a lot better than paying out $500 all at once in December right?
Something I like to do when I have a little extra money is to put it in my gifts account to help me save up the total gift amount I need.
Other reasons to start shopping early:
- You can shop without pressure to buy.
- You are able to wait for sales which will help you stick to your Christmas shopping budget.
- You can beat the crowds and shops when you want to.
- Stock up throughout the year when you find gifts on sale.
- You can THINK! What! novel idea I know. There is nothing harder than trying to shop with people talking to you or getting impatient and wanting to leave.
What Christmas “Have To’s” Can You Skip For A Season
When it comes to Christmas events, get-togethers, and traditions, it’s important to remember that you have the power to adapt (or say no) and make changes to better fit your budget.
While certain traditions hold sentimental value, there are a few “have to’s” that can be skipped for a season without sacrificing the spirit of the holidays or breaking the bank.
You can set a rule for the year that you will only use the decorations you have instead of buying new ones.
If the Christmas lights are burned out only decorate what you can or go with a natural-themed Christmas tree.
Skip things that are going to cause you to spend money or find creative ways to make what you need that will only cost you pennies on the dollar.
Do Christmas shopping By Yourself
I will fully admit I am a lone wolf so this isn’t hard for me. But one of the best shopping tips I have for you is to do your holiday shopping by yourself.
Especially if you are on a tight budget and you have someone who is a spender and lovest to give gifts. OR you have a hard time telling kids no when they start asking for things. — But it may also be a good idea for them to learn they don’t get everything they want all the time. Just something to think about.
Keep A Of List What Food And Gifts You Have Already
This is something that I see a lot of people mess up. Especially if they are a spender. You know who you are.
Its great to buy gifts early and on sale to save money but make sure to have a list of gifts in a place you can find easily so you don’t get to the end of the year and end up spending way more than you planned.
Use a tool like Asana or trello to create a list that you can access on any device at home or on the go.
It’s easy to forget what you have so you will get another one “just in case” then you look at your stick and find you already have 5 of that food item.
The same goes for Christmas shopping. Have one place for the Christmas gifts and put them there. But also make a list on your phone.
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Decide How Much You Can Afford, Not How Much You “Should Spend”
When it comes to Christmas shopping, you NEED TO approach it with a practical mindset.
Instead of focusing on how much you “should spend” based on other people’s expectations, how much they spend on you, or guilt, it’s important to determine how much you can truly afford. Prioritizing your financial health will ensure that you don’t overspend and end up with unnecessary debt.
To decide how much you can afford to spend, there are several factors to consider.
First, take a look at your overall holiday spending budget. Assess your financial situation and set a reasonable spending limit that won’t stretch your finances too thin.
Be honest with yourself and avoid the temptation to spend money you don’t have.
Next, consider your financial goals and obligations throughout the year. Are there any upcoming expenses, such as bills or debts, that need to be taken into account? By considering these factors, you can make a more informed decision about how much you can comfortably allocate towards Christmas gifts.
Remember, the joy of the holiday season doesn’t solely rely on extravagant gifts. It’s the thought and love behind the presents that truly matter.
And if you have people in your life that do get upset about how much you spend. Then some hard and honest conversations need to be made.
Decide Your Total Budget For The Season
Don’t set your budget for gifts, food, travel, ext before you decide how much you can afford for the total amount.
Spending $20 per gift might not sound like much but when you add it all up. Then pay for food, travel, wrapping, and other random things that pull you in. You could be looking at more than you realized even if you are good at getting deals.
Let’s say that you can spare $500 for Christmas. Right down the answer to these questions before you decide on the total amount.
- How many people do you have to buy gifts for?
- How many dishes do you have to bring to contribute to a meal?
- Will you have to buy extra gas for travel?
- Do you want to buy something special for your home?
Taking all of those budgeting pieces into consideration is important when trying to stick to a budget. But just spending money on gifts. Ask yourself how much do you want to spend on each of those categories?
Set A Dollar Amount Gift Limit
If you are a spender and you love to get people things you need to set a limit for how much you can actually spend. Or have you ever been here? You see THE one really cute thing you want to buy for one kid then you try to get everyone else’s gifts up to the same value? Yeah, good luck with that.
There is no need to feel like you have to buy expensive gifts AND there is no shame in giving homemade gifts. If cash is tight then don’t feel bad about that.
To make your money go even further try to shop for the value, not just the price tag. If something was $15 but you got it on sale for $10 then it is ok to count that gift as $15.
Kick Your Shopping For Christmas On A Budget Guilt To The Curb
Know that you don’t have to share your budget with anyone other than your spouse.
Here is something else I want you to know. If you are sticking to a budget to make your life better. Like paying for school, getting out of debt, or something that is not a selfish thing.
The people on the receiving end of your gift are not going to care. They want to support you and want you to be smart with your money. If they do make snarky comments or act poorly about your gifts thats a reflection on them. Not you.
So kick that Christmas gift budget guilt to the curb and get the gifts you can afford.
Have a hunter in your life. Shop this collection of gift ideas for Christmas.
Save On Your Christmas Shopping Budget By Watching The Sales
Many online retailers offer special promotions and discounts during the holiday season, so be on the lookout for those. – Every morning while you sip your morning coffee you can scroll through your emails looking for sales starting as early as October.
Another crucial strategy is comparison shopping. — Before making a purchase, check prices on different websites to ensure that you’re getting the best deal. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra time researching, as it can save you a significant amount of money.
If you’re shopping in-store, don’t hesitate to ask if there are any sales or coupons you should know about. It doesn’t have to sound sleazy just simply ask a question.
Many stores have holiday deals or may be willing to provide a discount if you simply ask. It never hurts to ask.
I don’t like to shop “just because.” When I find something I want but don’t have the money for it or it’s not in the budget it is disappointing so why tempt myself right?
So most often I don’t go unless I have money to spend.
But I saw in a video that shared this reasoning made sense. — When you are shopping for people who you don’t have gift ideas for. It helps you get an idea of what is out there and then you know what you are looking for.
Plus I also think this will help you know what is a good price for something when you see it. — So if you think you can handle window shopping without spending then give it a go. If not then don’t get yourself in that situation if it will cause you to go over budget.
Having cash only will really force you to stay within a certain amount. EVEN when it comes to tax. THAT’S an easy one to go over budget on.
I am bad about finding a gift that is $14.99 and my goal was $15 well the tax is going to kick that gift up to about $16. Which might not sound like much. But when you do that for every gift your extra cash is going to go by FAST.
If you don’t want to have actual cash then getting a prepaid debit card is another alternative.
Use Website Suggestions
A lot of different stores will have holiday sales pages with gifts under a certain dollar amount. If you use these pages it will help you sort through all of the higher-priced items and stick to your spending limit.
Here are some site gift guide pages
Amazon Gifts under $50 – You can click the tiles at the top of the page to filter out times for the people you are shopping for.
Get Coupons For Being On A Store Email List
If the website is a shop store a lot of times you will be able to find coupon codes. Try to find a pop-up with 10%-20% off. Stay on the home page for a few seconds (10-15 seconds usually) then scroll down to about 1/3rd of the page if that doesn’t work.
Or if you are on desktop move your arrow to the corner as if you are going to exit out of the tab and see if the offer shows up. — These are called exit intent popups.
It would be a bummer to miss out on some savings if you signed up too soon and the coupon expired.
My brother is a new homeowner and for his birthday and Christmas gifts, we bought things for his house.
I made a gift basket of kitchen utensils and spices and it was a blast to put together.
But other alternative Christmas gifts that are useful could be things like.
- Going in with someone on big-budget items.
- Baking mixes.
- Take people out to dinner.
- Go to the movies
- Homemade soaps.
- Board Games
- Personalized gift
- Meaningful gifts like family photo collection.
These things are great because you can find deals and often times they not only save you money but save the person you are giving it to money because they don’t have to spend money on these more useful things. And that is a blessing in itself sometimes.
Gift Swaps Instead Of Buying For Everyone
Secret Santa or A gift exchange where you take the name of one person and spend each person spends a particular amount that was agreed upon.
This is a great alternative for people with larger families or honestly when you get married. All of the sudden have two families to buy gifts for and what feels like a never-ending list of extended family.
Feeling the pinch can really put a damper on the holiday gift-giving spirit.
Rewards and Saving Apps
I started using Fetch on a regular basis and it has been great!
Fetch to get points for cashback if you scan your receipts of things you buy. Fetch gives you points and after you collect enough you get to turn them in for gift cards. — You can use those to help buy gifts or home decor.
Personally, I love to just stack up the points and get Amazon gift cards. It takes about 3 days for the process to go through once you turn in your points for the gift cards.
Flip – is another great app to compare prices and see ads for stores you shop at and keep track of upcoming sales.
Make Your Own Christmas Decorations
Decorating for Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, one of the best ways to add a personal touch to your holiday decor is by making your own Christmas decorations right at home.
But also keep in mind they don’t have to be tacky either. Be strategic and find things that match your home style already. Don’t go completely left field of you wouldn’t decorate in a certain way normally. That’s how there is a disconnect.
Here are some simple and budget-friendly DIY Christmas decorations that you can try:
1. Homemade Ornaments: Create unique and sentimental ornaments using materials like popsicle sticks, paper, felt, and ribbon. Personalize them with names, dates, or even cherished family photos.
2. Wreaths: Gather some evergreen branches, pinecones, and ribbon to make your own festive wreath. Attach the branches in a circular shape, add pinecones for texture, and finish it off with a beautiful bow.
3. Centerpieces: Transform an ordinary mason jar into a stunning Christmas centerpiece. Fill it with pine branches, berries, ornaments, or even fairy lights for a cozy and magical effect.
4. Paper Snowflakes: All you need is paper and scissors to create delicate and intricate snowflakes. Hang them on your windows or string them together to make a whimsical garland.
5. Mason Jar Luminaries: Decorate mason jars with paint, glitter, or adhesive stickers. Place a tea light candle inside and experience the cozy and warm glow these luminaries bring to your home.
Buy new or Open Boxed Gifts On eBay
If you’re looking for a great way to save money on your Christmas shopping, consider buying new or open-boxed gifts on eBay. Especially if you are looking to get electronics or other higher-ticket items.
With a little bit of searching and some savvy decision-making, you can find amazing deals on this popular online marketplace.
First, use the search function on eBay to look for specific items that you want to buy as gifts. Whether it’s the latest tech gadget, a trendy fashion accessory, or a popular toy, eBay has a wide range of options to choose from.
To narrow down your search results, make use of the filtering options, such as price range, condition, and seller location.
When evaluating sellers on eBay, take the time to read their feedback ratings and reviews. Look for reliable sellers with positive feedback from previous buyers. This will give you confidence in your purchase and ensure a smooth transaction.
PRO TIP: This doesn’t happen for all of the items but it’s not unheard of to at something to your watch list and then a few hours later get an email with a coupon offer for that item. So add several things to your watch list then step away for a few hours and pay attention to your email. If you haven’t gotten anything in 24hrs you probably won’t.
One of the biggest benefits of buying new or open-boxed gifts on eBay is the discounted prices. You can often find brand-new items at a fraction of their retail price.
Track Your Spending
During the holiday season, it’s crucial to keep track of your spending to stay within your budget. With so many gifts to buy and festivities to plan for, it’s easy to lose track of where your money is going. — I used to be really bad at this.
One effective method is to use a budgeting app or printable trackers. These tools make it easy to record your expenses and see how much you’ve spent in real-time. They can help you track every purchase, from gifts and decorations to food and entertainment.
Some popular budgeting apps even categorize your spending and provide insights into your spending habits. – Mint mobile seems to be the most comprehensive app at this point.
Know What Causes You To Spend
Know what makes you want to spend money and avoid it like the plague. Is it food deals, clothing, home décor? What is your weakness? Which are your favorite stores? — Stay out of them.
I don’t have a hard time resisting online stores and what they have online but in-store it’s harder. So I tend to buy gifts online first. Then once my wallet feels a little more empty then go in store…
We all have that one thing that makes us want to hand over our money. You may not know what yours is but see if you can figure it out.
Listen to your body. Do you get excited when you see something in particular on sale? That is your weakness and will really blow your holiday budget out of the water if you’re not careful.
You can master your holiday spending and feel amazing about your financial goals if you make a game plan. Is it easy? Nope.
But sticking to your financial decisions will make you feel so much better in the long run.
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