If you always dread Christmas because of the expense, use these tips to help you save money at Christmas time. Christmas can be done cheaper without losing any of the specialness of the holiday.
Gifts- the easiest way to not be broke from buying Christmas presents in December is to buy Christmas presents all year long. Post Christmas sales are a very good way to save money on the next Christmas. If you received gift certificates to stores use them to buy gifts for the next year. A lot of people seem to think you can only buy Christmas presents at Christmas time, ignore that type of mentality if you really want to save money at Christmas. Whenever you see something someone would like, buy it and save it for Christmas. Craft fairs and sales are a great time to pick up Christmas presents all year long whenever you have a few extra bucks. Spreading out your Christmas purchases throughout the year will keep you from feeling as much of a pinch in your wallet during Christmas time.
Keep a list of the people you buy gifts for. It is easiest if you keep the list as a word document on your computer. Whenever you have an idea of something someone would like, write it on your list and buy it soon after. Keep the person on your list and be sure to write down that you already have bought the present and what it is. This will help you keep things organized at Christmas time when you are wrapping presents. Otherwise you might forget what you bought and for who.
Buy used- There are some gifts that can be bought used to save money on Christmas gifts. You can’t do this with everything, but items such as books, DVDs, and video games can be found used but in good condition on Amazon.com, garage sales, and craigslist.
Christmas cards- there are two options to save money on Christmas cards. The first is to send e-cards. If most of the people on your holiday card list have e-mail accounts use a free e-card service such as http://www.smilebox.com. On smilebox you can send free e-cards and include pictures and music. It costs absolutely nothing.
If you prefer sending via the post office sending a Christmas letter describing your family’s year and including a picture is a much cheaper and more personal option than buying expensive Christmas cards that you just sign your name to.
Wrapping presents- People don’t really care how you wrap their Christmas present. Even if you buy the most expensive wrapping paper and spend hours wrapping your presents to make them look just right, the only thing people will remember is what is inside the present. Therefore don’t feel bad about saving money on wrapping supplies, it’s better for the environment too.
If you normally buy wrapping paper use old newspaper instead, use the comics section if you want it to look prettier. If you don’t get the newspaper delivered to you ask someone who does to save the comics sections of their newspaper for you.
If you normally use gift bags to put presents in re-use them. If you don’t have any this Christmas make sure you save the ones you receive for next year. Also consider investing in reusable gift bags. Give out the presents and ask for your bags back to use every year. The cost you initially spend on the bags the first year will be saved by using them over and over.
With a little preparation and cleverness you can save money at Christmas.