I always look forward to Christmas. I love shopping for great presents for my friends and family, but it seems like every year I add another one or two recipients to my list. If you struggle with finances around the holidays use my techniques below to help ease the financial burden that comes along with the holiday. These techniques can be used at anytime of the year, but are especially helpful during the holiday season.
1. Draw names
My husband and I each come from big families, so we have quite a large shopping list when it comes to Christmas. Each side of our extended families draws names to cut back on the expenses. On my husband’s side, the adults draw names, but everyone gets gifts for the children. On my side of the family, the adults draw names and we have a separate drawing for the children. Both of these techniques allow us to cut some costs around the holidays without feeling like we are being cheap in the gift giving.
2. Make a budget and stick to it
Early in the season, or even right after the holidays, make a list of everyone that you will need to buy gifts for. After you make the list of gift recipients, make a budget for each person on your list. Make sure to stick to this budget. It is easy to tell yourself that a few dollars over budget is okay, but if you have a large shopping list these few dollars can add up to hundreds.
3. Start your holiday shopping early
I have a lot of birthdays between October and January that I buy presents for, as well as all of our Christmas shopping, so I try to get started no later than June. Starting early allows me to spread out my spending so that I do not feel overwhelmed in a matter of one or two months.
4. Shop clearance and sales
If you make a list and start shopping early in the year, you will be able to score much better deals by being able to shop for more clearance and sale items. Having a list allows you to keep track of any gift ideas as well as what has already been purchased. Each week when the sale ads come out, scan them for anything that might be considered as a holiday gift. Each time you head to the store or mall take your list and scan through the clearance section for possible deals.
5. Shop on Black Friday
This is for the adventurous. Black Friday is one of the largest shopping days of the year. Retailers have great deals on hot items during their Black Friday sales. If you are brave enough to fight through all of the Black Friday crowds you can get some awesome savings. Recently more and more retailers are having good sales the week leading up to Black Friday, so keeping your eyes open for deals even a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving can save you some money as well.