It comes every year, but every year you seem surprised that Christmas is almost here. Do you run out for last minute shopping and buy all the things in the store? Do you cringe when you look at your checking account afterwards? Maybe you just want to save a little bit of money this holiday season.
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Make List of Names
The first way to avoid over spending during the holiday season is making a list of the names of people that you will be buying gifts for. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to purchase a gift for every single person that you know. Close friends and family members and maybe some co-workers is plenty. If you want to do more, then consider smaller gift options or homemade baked goods.
Keep an on-going list of gift ideas on your cell phone or in your planner. When someone mentions something that they would like then you are prepared to record it, and use it later. I have done this for the last 3 years, and it’s a life saver for sure when it’s time to buy gifts!
How Much Can You Spend?
Once you have your list made, you can start creating a Christmas budget. Decide how much money you can spend on each person on your list. Add up the total and see if it is doable. Remember, you don’t want to go into debt over the holidays. That’s no way to start out a new year.
Should You Adjust Your List?
Are there people on your list who are on a strict budget too? Talk to those who are in the same boat as you and see if they are OK with drawing names at the family Christmas or leaving out gifts all together. Isn’t the best part of Christmas the memories that are made from time spent together?
Consider Gifts of Time or Adventures
Are you tired of purchasing the same slippers and flannel pajama bottoms for your parents and in-laws? Why not try giving your parents date nights or experiences instead of the same ole gifts? Some ideas are:
tickets to plays
season tickets to a theme park
hotel stay or bed and breakfast
reservations at a nice restaurant
season tickets to movie theater
Go in Together
Consider going in together for a larger gift for parents, in-laws, grandparents, etc. If you and your siblings are on a tight budget then discuss combining your gift-giving efforts for one large gift. Parents and in-laws get tough to buy for as the years go on so combining your gifts within a group can get more bang for your buck!
Shopping After Christmas and New Years for Deals
Shop for decor, coffee mugs, drink mixes, plates, etc. after the holiday. Women love getting new Christmas pieces to add to their home. Also, mitten/toboggan gift sets, robes, and holiday makeup sets go on sale after New Year’s Day so snatch up those bargains for gifts for next year!
Shopping in Advance
For budgeting purposes, it’s best to spread out Christmas presents so they don’t all come from one pay check. That’s also why it is important to be proactive with your Christmas shopping. If you wait until the last minute then ALL of your Christmas presents will come out of the same pay check. Spread it out so it’s easier on the checking account. 🙂
Use Maven to Make Money
Maven is a great way to make extra cash on the side. This year I purchased all of my husband’s Christmas presents using money that I made through Maven and Usertesting. Save your favorite items to boards and earn a commission when people purchase items from your boards. You can also earn by referring others to Maven. It is also a great place to create wish list boards so that your friends and family know exactly what you want for Christmas. 🙂 Think of it as a shopping version of Pinterest.
UserTesting to Make Money
If you haven’t heard of UserTesting then I highly suggest you check it out today. Basically, you are sent tasks that take 10 minutes or less to complete. Once you have completed the task you will receive $10 in your account. You get paid 7 days from the day you completed the task. Most of the time, I review websites or apps and describe how my experience was while using the site or app. Super easy!
Small Job on the Side
With Christmas fast approaching, it is a good time to consider a small side job for extra cash. For example, I recently started tutoring for an hour a week. I make $35 for one hour of tutoring. That money will help towards any extra holiday expenses, or it can be put into our savings account. (For more information of how to save money while on a budget, check out this post.) This time of year, any extra money helps. 🙂 Some other side jobs include:
baking goods to sell
doing yard work in your neighborhood
putting up other people’s Christmas lights
building items and taking them to a craft fair
How easy it is to shop online now? With stores offering free 2-day shipping, it can’t get much better. Who needs to go to the store anyway?! One great way to make extra money while shopping online is using Ebates. You get $10 for signing up and starting to shop. Just shop at all of your regular online stores through Ebates and earn money!
Amazon Prime is another great option for shopping online. They offer monthly memberships now so you don’t have to commit to a full year. You get access to Amazon Prime Music, Amazon Prime Pantry, and Amazon Prime Video. The free 2-day shipping is awesome for any last minute gifts too. 🙂
Shopping Black Friday
Oh, the ever controversial Black Friday shopping. Personally, I love it. Yes, there are deals that are better if you shop before Black Friday, but it’s fun to check out the deals anyway. Now most stores start their sales online the Monday before Black Friday so you can be SURE that you get the great deals without waiting in line. 🙂 In fact, my mom and I went Black Friday shopping, saw the crowds, and bought our items online while in the parking lot this year. haha!
DIY Christmas Gifts
DIY Christmas gifts can be very thoughtful and appreciated if done right. If you are crafty then you can create gorgeous gifts for your family and friends for a fraction of what it would cost to purchase it in a store. Plus it would be meaningful because you took the time and energy to create it. Some ideas of tasteful DIY Christmas gifts are:
year in review photo scrapbook
hand lettered signs
homemade salsas and jams
homemade Christmas cookies
hand lettered ornaments