Save Money on Holiday Gifts (Without Being a Scrooge)
Blog | October 23rd, 2013
There’s no doubt we spend a lot of money around the holidays.
As a matter of fact, a quarter of all personal spending in the United States is
done during the holiday season. As families grow so does the gift list and our holiday
budget can get out of hand. But, there are ways to save and cut back on your
gift giving without looking like a Scrooge.
Remember, it’s the thought that counts (didn’t your mom
always teach you that?). We should be celebrating the real meaning of the season.
Right? Well, that’s a hard sell at times to children but with creative planning
coupled with imagination, your gifts will be appreciated and you can avoid
going into holiday debt.
Celebrate the holidays all year long, especially where
buying gifts is concerned. Make a gift list early in the year and when you do
your everyday shopping you’re sure to stumble onto the perfect gift for someone
on your list. I love this tip — I have a closet dedicated to things I have
bought on sale or clearance and have made nice gifts especially in a pinch!
Avoid last minute shopping! Scan sales flyers and clip
coupons. You probably already do this, but this year keep gift giving in mind
too. Try to use coupons in combination with sale prices and save even more. Sign
up for department stores newsletters through the mail or online to keep on top
of sales. Newsletters often include special offers and discounts and sometimes
even free gift certificates!
Shop online! Here you can compare prices not only online but
how they compare with your local stores. Usually, when you buy online you don’t
pay sales tax and many times shipping is free. The gas savings is another plus,
and it’s no surprise that I do most of my shopping online.
Carpool with a friend when you’re going shopping. This not
only saves fuel but you can exchange ideas on what to give and where to go. Make
gift-buying fun instead of an obligatory chore. Don’t forget to check out the
dollar stores and the 99-cent stores, especially for the gift wrappings which
can make the gift even more special.
Yard and garage sales are great places to find that perfect
treasure for a fraction of the cost. Many items are also new, in their original
package and unopened. But the item doesn’t have to be new. With a little
cleaning and fix up it can look brand new! Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find
an antique that just needs a coat of polish.
If you have frequent flyer miles that are going to waste
give them as a gift. Who wouldn’t enjoy a free plane ride? Most mileage plans
can also be traded for merchandise or even cash. Don’t let them expire even if
you have to give them away.
Many large families nowadays draw names to keep holiday
expenses in line. Some only give gifts to the children or exchange cards.
Remember: personal, obviously well thought-out gifts are always most
appreciated. Enjoy the holiday season but stay within your budget. It will be a
happier new year if it starts debt free.
Kari Cullen is the founder of Esavingsblog, a blog that teaches people how to save money, get deals and live frugally. Esavingsblog features ways to earn extra cash, money-saving tips, online freebies and deals, personal finance articles and much, much more.