Every year it seems harder and harder to save money at Christmas, especially when you have a big family with lots of gifts to buy.
Then there’s the expense of parties, cocktail dresses, shipping gifts out and more. It’s enough to deplete you by January, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
I consider myself a practical person, yet even the most practical of shoppers can easily get in over their heads during the excitement of the holiday season.
Aside from family, there are neighbors, coworkers, your children’s teachers and others that you want to acknowledge during the Christmas season without breaking the bank.
So if you’re like me, where every dollar really counts, then here are some ways you can save money this Christmas holiday season and enjoy yourself even more.
Always start with a list of people that you will be buying gifts for. Next, have a discussion with your spouse and children to find out who you will be exchanging gifts with. For instance, your spouse might mention a relative who is unemployed and will not be exchanging gifts this year, so you can cross that person off your list.
Find out what this year’s most popular toys are. If you’re a parent, grandparent or anyone who needs to shop for kids, it helps to know which toys everyone is excited about this year. Also be aware of which toys are suitable for what age group. Here is a list of this year’s most sought after toys for kids of all ages.
Save money, even when you forget your coupons. Have you ever gotten to the checkout of a store only to find you’ve forgotten your coupons? Don’t sweat it. Instead use your smartphone to look up the store’s website and find the coupon online. Many stores like Kohl’s, Big Lots and Macy’s can scan the coupon right off your phone to give you the discount in store at the register!
Save money this Christmas by using store layaway and payment plans instead of credit cards. If you are shopping for a specific toy or electronics that is a big ticket item, research stores and prices early. Look for retailers that have flex plans, like QVC so that you can pay for the gift in full over time.
Pay attention to important holiday shopping dates. The biggest Christmas shopping days of the year are Black Friday and Black Saturday, which are the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving Day. Also Monday, December 1st is Cyber Monday for those who want to find big shopping discounts at online stores.
Save money this Christmas on drugstore gifts online. Drugstores have come a long way when it comes to finding decent gifts, like perfumes, gadgets, small appliances and gourmet chocolates. To save even more, shop Drugstore.com online and do it on December 1st, Cyber Monday to get the most bang for your buck.
Plan your Christmas shopping around specific store sales. Obviously this makes sense. But there are many stores during the holiday shopping season that will start sales at midnight or 4:00 am to give early birds the best bargains, so make a note of the stores that will offer early sale openings.
Use eBay to make and save money this Christmas. There are many affordable new and used items on eBay during the holiday season. For instance, if you want a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, which sells for $300, you can probably find one used for half that price or less on eBay. Also, while you are shopping, it doesn’t hurt to list a few of your own items for sale, since so many people are looking for gifts this time of year. Plus, whatever you sell will offset the cost of gifts you have to buy.
Buy Gift cards at a discount price. You may not be aware of this, but you can save money this Christmas by getting gift cards for less money than their actual face value. During the holiday season many restaurants will sell you gift cards and throw in an extra one for yourself. The key is that you have to buy them directly from the restaurant and not buy them at a supermarket or drugstore. Other places to find gift cards for less than there face value are eBay or GiftCardGranny.com.
Don’t spend a fortune on a holiday outfit. Be practical and save money this Christmas on an outfit by checking out what’s in your closet or a friend’s closet first. There’s no reason to spend a lot of cash on something you may only wear once. If you can borrow a suit, cocktail dress, strappy sandals or a shawl from someone and look festive, it makes no sense to spend extra money.
Save money this Christmas shipping gifts to far away relatives. If you and your family live in one state and you have family in another state that you exchange gifts with, combine everything into one care package. You can include wrapped gifts, Christmas cards and tins of cookies from everyone in one shipment and save on postage and shipping costs.
Throw an affordable holiday party. If you host a holiday party, keep your menu as simple as possible, such as a buffet of baked ham, rolls, pasta and salad. Also encourage guests to bring a pot luck dish or dessert. Focus on visiting and having fun by playing music or having a secret Santa swap so everyone can participate without spending a lot.
Save money this Christmas and give the gift of time. If you have a grandparent or disabled relative who cannot get out much, setting up a date to spend time with them after the holidays can be the ideal gift that doesn’t cost you anything. Other gifts of time for family could be a homemade coupon to give a back rub, baby sit or help them clean their house or garage.
Gift a family heirloom to someone. Whether it’s a necklace from your great grandmother or antique china, handing down a family heirloom that you already own and no longer use, is a thoughtful way to give something meaningful to a younger family member at Christmas time.
Save money this Christmas with cash back shopping. Online shopping savings sites like Ebates.com or Honey offer thousands of ways to get rebates and cash back through hundreds of online stores. Also, download the Ibotta app on your phone to find cash-back deals on all sorts of items. So if you have a lot of shopping to do, it really pays to look at these sites.
There are many ways to save money this Christmas holiday season, if you just take the time to research and plan. Holidays are made to enjoy with friends and family, so why not take the time this year to see how you can take the stress out of the holidays with less spending.
How do you save money during the holidays?