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The sleigh bells are a’jinglin’ and The Grinch is on his way to suck your bank account dry!
Not really…but it could happen!
Luckily, there are ways to gift your loved ones without taking a huge blow to your finances. Check out these 7 tips to help you stay on budget this Christmas.
Determine how much you’re going to spend
Before you do anything stop, drop, and make a budget.
Once you’ve determined how much you can comfortably afford on gifts then all of the tips below will fall into place. Having a specific amount to spend helps to keep you in check while doing your Christmas shopping. If you’ve opted to only set aside $200 then it’s a no-brainer that a $100 Keurig won’t be making your cart. Even though Aunt Louis may love that cold brew option ( do they even have that?), if it is half your budget then let it go sister.
Make a list of who you’re buying gifts for and their interests
Make a list of everyone that you would like to buy a gift for along with their individual interests. This list will allow you to see just how far your dollar has to stretch in order to get through everyone’s name. You may soon realize that some people may not make it to the final round and that is okay. The point is to determine how much love you have to spread around.
“Don’t be extra”
I repeat! DON’T. BE. EXTRA!
Why? Because being extra costs extra.
The holidays have become a competition for who can purchase the most gifts and no wallets are spared. Don’t be that person giving up your rent money just to say you were the best gift-giver this year. We all want to see our loved ones gawking at our purchases but you’re on a budget!
Personally, I like to limit 1 gift per person minus my child. Last year, I managed to buy 8 people gifts with $154 using that 1:1 ratio.
Trust me, purchasing only one gift is a lot less stressful, takes less creative juices, and dangit it’s the thought that counts anyways!
Related reading: How to Save Money as a Single Parent
Buy something useful
The purpose of jotting down the interests of those you’re buying gifts for is to purchase something that they’ll actually use. How many times have you been gifted something that only gets like one good use before collecting dust? Now think of how pissed off you’d be to think of your gift catching dust bunnies after you went out and spent your hard-earned money on it.
What if I don’t know their interests? That’s okay.
Maybe you got sucked into doing Secret Santa at work and you’re not too familiar with the person you got. If all else fails, resort to good ol’ observation. If you notice that a coworker juggles a lot of different job responsibilities, then consider purchasing something cheap and useful like a planner.
Consider using retailers that offer cashback on the purchases you make. Online shopping seems to have seriously taken over the world, and online sites have partnered with your favorite retailers to give you money back.
How does it work?
Let me first say that these sites are completely free to use. Retailers pay them for sending traffic their way thus allowing the cashback site to give some of that money to you. The percentage of cashback is different for every retailer, but some can range from 2%-20% or more!
Lately, I’ve been using BeFrugal and so far so good. They offer cashback at over 5,000 stores and also alert you of current deals going on. When you sign up you get a $10 sign-up bonus that you can use towards your purchases.
You may have also heard of Ebates who essentially work the same way. Tomato tom-ah-toe.
Hit the clearance rack
If you’ve never shopped the clearance rack then you’re missing out on some serious savings. I’m-err-’frugal’ so whether I’m shopping online or in-store I always make sure to see what’s on clearance. (*Tip: If you’re shopping online many tabs say sale instead of clearance).
Comparing pricing is now easier than ever thanks to online shopping. If you’re looking for a particular item don’t just purchase from the first site that has it available. Chances are you’ll find a better deal on the exact same item but from another retailer.
Last but not least, have a VERY merry Christmas!
Need a Christmas gift list? Click here to grab mine for free!