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In case you haven't noticed all of the prematurely placed holiday items in the store...Christmas is coming! I love Christmas. I love getting gifts for people, and love finding beautiful wrapping paper and just making it as special as possible, and I know that I'm not alone.
I've posted before about"10 Tips to Save Serious Money" but that can get a little tougher around the holidays. There's the desire to do all you can for those you love, and the need to still be financially realistic about our means.
I wouldn't be the first to say that the commercialism of Christmas has gotten a little out of control. For me it isn't about the money I spend or having other people think "wow, she must have spent a lot on this". For me, I just love people receiving a gift that they love, really wanted, and for them to feel loved and special. So! How can we all accomplish our goals of making our loved ones feel that holiday cheer and still save some money this year? Well, here are a few tips to help you through it without feeling like a Scrooge.
1. Make handmade gifts. Instead of spending $30 at the Gap on a scarf, spend $5 on some yarn and make one yourself. Don't fret if you're not the crafty type, there's seriously so many great ideas for heartfelt gifts that don't cost much. How about getting a special picture printed and framed? You can usually find frames for not much and the prints are pretty affordable. Or customizing a mug a la Pinterest. I know I've always been touched by the effort and beauty that goes into a handmade gift.
2. Divide and Conquer. If you have a large family, suggest drawing names for gift giving, rather than getting every person their own gift. That way everyone has a bit more they can spend on that one person they pick rather than spreading funds across 10 people. That means you and everyone is more likely to get one awesome gift rather than 10 ok gifts. This idea can be a hard sell to those who love to get gifts for everyone, but it so practical money wise and cuts down on a lot of stress finding lots of different presents.
3. Have holiday dinners be potluck style. This not only cuts down on the cost of planning a dinner for a dozen people, but also the time and logistics of making it all happen. I think a lot of people are happy to share their own special recipe for pumpkin pie or mashed potatoes anyways. It's nice to be able to all share in having a nice dinner. I often feel a little guilty when I'm over for a big dinner where the host does it all. Let people pitch in, it's a win-win-win.
4. Plan ahead. It's a little late this year, but it's never to late for next year. Plan ahead. If money is really tight, sock away a little each month/week (whatever works for you) to be able to do the holidays your way. This can just be a revolving holiday/party/wedding/birthday slush fund. That way when you find out that your best friend is having a baby you won't struggle to find a few bucks for the gift. Don't let the lack of money turn a joyous occasion into a depressing one.
5. Only spend what you have. Do NOT under any circumstances take out pay day loans or max out your credit cards for Christmas. The money it will cost you to do this is astronomical. Christmas is special and magical, but do NOT make it an excuse to be hit with crazy amounts of interest if you can't afford it.
6. Buy what you need. New tires may not seem super exciting or magical, but if you need them, consider making that your Christmas present. Think about what you NEED vs. what you WANT. It won't seem like fun at the time, but it will be a relief that that one thing is finally taken care of.
7. Make a budget and stick to it. Pick a dollar amount that you can afford. If that's say $100, and you've got 4 people to buy for, then start brainstorming $20 gifts. No, I'm not that bad at math...4 X $20= $80. This leaves you money for wrapping paper, bows, and for that few extra dollars that always seems to creep up. Give yourself room for a buffer so you don't accidentally go over. I'd also recommend getting cash and using that if you're not great about sticking to the budget. That way, once the cash is gone, it's gone.
8. Don't stress. Remember that the people in your life love you for you, not for the gifts you give them. Sacrificing your family's future stability for a big Christmas isn't what they'd want for you. You can have an amazingly happy holiday just by snuggling up together watching the Christmas Story, playing board games and drinking cocoa. If that sounds pretty amazing, then you only have 62 more days to go!
Here's to having a happy holiday season and happy travels!
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz