How to Christmas Shop on a Tight Budget
Believe it or not, it is possible to celebrate Christmas without being broke this holiday season. You just have to learn how to Christmas Shop on a Tight Budget. Follow these tips to save your budget and still buy gifts for the ones you love most.
You NEED a Budget!
First, set up budget for each person – not just an overall arbitrary budget.
Instead, pick an amount of money you’re comfortable spending for each person on your list.
This is key because this is now your price to beat list.
We’re going to try to find a great gift and spend even less than this number.
Go back and revisit that shopping list. Is there anyone on there that you’re buying for simply out of guilt or because they usually buy for you?
If so consider paring down the people that you buy for and find a non-monetary way to celebrate the holiday together. Suggest time with them instead if they’re local. Going out for a drink or for dinner (but remember for dinner you can always have an appetizer and skip the entree to save a ton of money drink water and skip the alcohol and soft drinks to save even more!)
Don’t just stop at the trips to a restaurant, follow these step-by-step tips we used to slash our grocery budget by more than 50%!
For the people that you do intend to buy an actual gift for – be sure to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
If you don’t already have one, be sure to sign up for an Amazon Prime account trial. Even if you just use the free trial and cancel before you’re charged, you can still order your gifts and get all of the same Prime benefits that annual members enjoy.
This allows you to save a ton of money. Not only is Amazon usually the cheapest retailer (for things I buy anyway) but you’re not paying for shipping plus you get your Prime purchases two days later.
Sign up HERE for your free 30 day trial!
Thrift Your Best Gifts
Consider buying used gifts, especially for the youngest people on your list.
If you’re one of the people that things every gift should be brand new, let me ask you this…
Do you judge people who collect antiques and buy things that have been used by several people?
People go absolutely crazy for antiques even though it’s lost it’s intended value long ago.
Better example – Do you judge people who buy a house that someone has already lived in instead of building one that’s brand new?
No but why not?
My point is, things can be just as good even better buy them used.
A great example is Fisher Price Little People. I’ve been noticing a trend and I am getting a little nervous.
They come with actual little people, but lately the Little People little people are looking much more cheaply made.
When we shop for Little People toys, we shop at our local Once Upon a Child and get them for less than 50% retail value and they’re usually the little people that are still made to last.
If you’re really trying to save money, stack your savings by using Ebates.
Ebates is the smartest thing you can do to save money this holiday season aside from price-matching.
For every single online purchase that we make in our home we first check Ebates.
What is Ebates?
It’s pretty simple. You go to the Ebates site and see if the store you’re looking to buy through is listed. Sometimes even Amazon is on there.
An Ebates account is completely free and you’re able to get a percentage of your purchase back.
So I’ll decide I want to buy a friend with small children a few outfits from Carters. I’ll first hop on Ebates and check to see if Carter’s is listed. If it is, I’ll click through my Ebates link to Carter’s in order to make the purchase.
Ebates tracks my order and will send me a check for 5% of my purchase!
I was going to shop at Carter’s (in this example) anyway, so why not click through to Carter’s website using ebates in order to get some of that money back?
You’re seriously leaving money on the table if you DON’T use Ebates.
We don’t just use our Ebates account at Christmas time.
We use it all year long and get back literally hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year by doing this.
This saves us a ton on hotel rooms and rental cars we were going to buy anyway.
Be sure to check Ebates if you’re planning on going out of town this holiday to save even more money by getting that check in the mail a few weeks later.
Sign up for your free account here.
Use Cash – Not Credit!
When you’re shopping for Christmas this year try to cash flow every purchase.
Don’t use your credit card just to buy things for people you can’t afford. You only end up paying interest and heartache later.
Start a New Tradition
Consider starting a new tradition instead of buying a gift. Best friend from my hometown and I always got together for dinner and drinks instead of buying each other presents.
Not only did we always have an amazing time, but we saved money and made great memories.
Pair Gifts Correctly to Make the Perfect Gift
Consider slightly more expensive gifts with much cheaper one.
For example, buy a nice, good-quality candle (this brand is my absolute favorite!) and pair it with a cheaper scarf (Target carries really soft ones seasonally for just $3!) comfortable footies or slippers, and a cute mug from the dollar store or one spot at Target for an inexpensive gift this year.
This is especially easy to do with children’s toys. It’s easy to buy one larger gift, especially a used one or one from a store like Walmart or Target – then smaller things from Dollar Tree or the one spot at Target. Now, you’ve got a really awesome gift that your youngest gift recipient can’t stop talking about!
Plan Ahead – Way Ahead!
It’s too late to do this for this holiday season, but from now on, always shop right after the holidays!
Gift sets, candles, even toys go on extremely good clearance right after Christmas and will make the perfect gift next year.
I usually stock up on some universal gifts that I can use for showers and host gifts throughout the year too.
How do you save money on Christmas shopping? How do you plan your Christmas budget? Let me know in the comments!