It is the month of December and Christmas is quickly approaching. Everything that goes into this wonderful holiday can be a bit overwhelming at times. This year, don’t let all of the financial stress and to-do lists kill your Christmas spirit! There are a number of things you can do that may help you save money this Christmas without having to sacrifice any love, laughter, and joy.
Make a Budget
When you are Christmas shopping, it is very easy to go overboard without realizing it until it’s too late! Therefore, you should make a list and determine how much you can afford to spend on Christmas. Your list should include holiday obligations, presents, traveling, and decorations. When determining your budget, you should over-estimate slightly each dollar amount to ensure that you stay within your set budget.
You may think it’s going to look bad if you cut back your expenses this year however, it is said that 24 percent of shoppers say they overspent in 2016, while 27 percent admit to not making a budget at all.
Find Extra Savings
When faced with a long shopping list of presents, there are a few different shopping hacks to help you save some money this year.
There are a number of websites that give coupon codes so you can always get a deal. A few of these include, but are not limited too, RetailMeNot, and Groupon. There are also different websites that give cash-back for a large number of your purchases, like Rakuten (formerly Ebates).
Sign up for a store email lists
If you know what you are wanting to buy and you know which retailer you want to get it from, sign up for their email lists. When signing up, they usually offer some type of discount or percentage off your purchase that will be sent to your email. They will inform you when there are deals and sometimes they will even provide updates when items you were interested in have been discounted.
Use a cash-back credit card
There are a number of different credit cards that offer cash back rewards on specific purchases and at specific locations. For example, the Chase Freedom credit card offers five percent cash-back at department stores such as Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Sears, Bloomingdale’s, and Dillard’s.
Additionally, the Discover it Cash Back card provides 5 percent cash-back at different locations each quarter, such as Amazon, groceries, and up to $1,500 in purchases.
If you don’t have a credit card with cash-back rewards nor do you want to open one, there are options to get credit cards for specific retailers. For example, Kohl’s offers the Kohl’s credit card, as does Macy’s. By opening up a credit card with retailers, you can put purchases on your new credit line, and in many instances these new retail credit lines will offer many deals and incentives that you can benefit from this holiday season.
Save on Christmas Wrapping
Wrapping Christmas gifts is so much fun, but the wrapping paper, bows, ribbon, and gift tags can add up quickly. Try looking at your local Dollar Stores for Christmas wrapping supplies that are affordable.
When out shopping, some stores offer to wrap your purchases/gifts for free. Take advantage of these opportunities, it will save you money and time in the long run. Also keep a lookout for stores offering free wrapping supplies. For example, Dicks Sporting Goods and JC Penny offers free gift boxes for clothing and other free lancing items.
Cheap Gift Ideas
Christmas gifts don’t always have to be about buying something for someone, sometimes the best gifts are made and thought of from the heart. If you have a special skill, like woodworking, or craft making, use those skills to create that one-of-a-kind Christmas gift.
Making your own gifts, such as homemade bath soaps and bath salts, and anything edible such as cookies and treats this time of year can be much more meaningful and valuable than a store bought gift! Never underestimate the power of your own creativity!
Aside from gifts, you can also make your own Christmas decorations. If you have kids, they typically love to make ornaments to put on the tree. These ornaments don’t have to be anything fancy, it can be made out of construction paper, pipe cleaners, beads, pictures, and anything else you can come up with. Additionally, there are a handful of other decorations you can make around the house to spice up the Christmas spirit. Just keep your eyes open from blogs about DIY projects and DIY projects on a budget. Try checking out your local craft stores for some crafting ideas and/or workshops that are offered there, and Pinterest is always a great resource to leverage for unique ideas.
Alternatives to Gifts
If you have a big family, it can become very costly and overwhelming if you have to buy for every single family member. This year, try doing something more untraditional, like gift giving games. For example, a very common one is called White Elephant. Everyone brings one gift and they get chosen randomly and switched out in accordance with whatever rules you are playing with. There are a number of other different games you could try out that will reduce the stress and costs of buying every family member a present but is also extremely fun and entertaining.
Sometimes the Christmas Holiday can seem more like a stressful chore rather than a time to relax and enjoy the season with family and friends, but if you take the time you need to plan, budget, and leverage some of these great tips and suggestions you will find you can reduce the financial stress and have loads of fun this holiday season!