Tis the season for gift giving. While many businesses will tempt you with all that is merry and bright to deck your halls, we’ve got some great ideas on how to keep your finances on track in our Holiday Budget Guide.
Make spending categories
Organized Home which just published their Santa Savings Guide, suggests the following categories and a budget for each one.
- Stocking stuffers
- Gift wrap
- Postage and shipping
- Christmas cards
- Holiday photo
- Tips and service gifts
- Holiday meals
- Baking and kitchen gifts
- Décor items and Christmas tree
- Home improvements
- Travel expenses
- Holiday clothing
- Charitable donations
- Post-Christmas sales
What a great idea to even factor in the after Christmas sales. For more awesome strategies and worksheet, be sure to read the rest of the article.
Real Simple Magazine asked their readers how they stayed on budget and they came up with some great ideas. Here are our favorites:
Recycle! My friends and I buy presents for one another from secondhand stores. We reuse gift bags and boxes from previous years and often present baked goods on old plates―the pretty ones that are no longer part of a complete set. This year I am giving vintage recipe boxes (found at a secondhand store for a dollar or two) filled with my favorite recipe cards and a batch of my signature sweets, Oatmeal Scotchies.
Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
My friends and I exchange birthday gifts but not holiday gifts. Instead, we get together at someone’s house to enjoy a glass of wine and wrap presents together. By limiting gift buying to family, it’s much easier to stay within my budget.
Santa Ana, California
For years I hosted the traditional sit-down holiday dinner, but everyone would get so full on appetizers that they couldn’t really enjoy the meal. Then, 10 years ago, I decided to replace that feast with just hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and desserts. It feels more like a lovely cocktail party, with people mingling and laughing. Cutting out the big, fancy dinner slashed a huge expense from my budget, and we still get to have wonderful holiday food―just in smaller bites.
More ideas are waiting when you read the rest!
Find the Deals
US News Money offers some great strategies as well:
Start comparison shopping online. If you plan on making any big-ticket purchases this season, do some online research to learn more about features, benefits, prices and any available rebates. Look for coupon codes, and figure out which sites offer free shipping and other incentives that will keep costs down.
Consider homemade gifts this year. If you’re the crafty type, make a gift list of people who might appreciate handmade gifts or baked goods instead of store-bought items. You can save money on your gift spending by buying ingredients or craft supplies in bulk and by taking advantage of special offers at craft and thrift stores.
Get the App
Of course, there’s an app for that, holiday shopping that is. CNN just realized their list of 4 shopping apps for finding the best deals.
As you consider which gifts will be as special as the people you are giving them to, please also consider supporting local small businesses too! Here’s a great site that will help you do just that. If you’d like to give yourself the gift of a new home, we’d love to assist! Contact me today!