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Saving money at Christmas is easy when you follow a few simple guidelines for smart and savvy spending. Cut down on costs without cutting back on the fun with these top 12 ways to save big money during Christmas.
1. Best Deals Online
The online retailers are your best bet for budget-friendly shopping all year round. Many online prices can undercut the best sales at the mall, so it's good to be vigilant searching for gifts online. When you buy online close to the holidays, be sure to leave some extra time for your package to arrive. The post service slows down in December and you don't want your delivery time to lag behind schedule.
2. Pull Names From A Hat
Buying Christmas gifts for a large family or circle of friends can run up your credit cards sky high. In today's economy, cutting corners is the smart way to enjoy the Christmas season by limiting the number of gifts on your list. Instead of making the rounds to each person, you may opt for drawing names from a hat for the adult gift recipients in your circle. This takes the financial burden off your wallet and friends and family will appreciate the savings too.
3. Stick To A List
Retailers and mall merchants are counting on consumer impulse buys to bolster their sales. This type of emotional spending can derail your Christmas shopping budget and cause some serious financial hardships come January. Instead, stick with a list and systematically purchase for each person you need to buy for. It will take some discipline getting started, however the payoff is well worth it and you will sleep better at night.
4. Take Gift Suggestions
Sometimes buying for a certain person can be a tedious and often costly job. The best way to make your money count is to get a few suggestions of what each gift recipient would like to have then go after the items with the best prices. You might be surprised that a person would prefer a special item that will cost far less than what you intended to spend for his or her gift.
5. Gift Cards
Gift cards are everybody's favorite present when you can give them their own choice at the mall. The gift card may be purchased in almost any monetary denomination and that makes sense to ensure you do not spend over budget. Giving a gift card does not mean simply handing a plain envelope to your loved one. To make the little gift card appealing, pop it into a colorful gift bag with some tissue paper and a bow on the handle.
6. Gifting Food Items
Gifting food items is a great way to slash your Christmas gift budget. Tasty treats beautifully boxed are a real hit under the Christmas tree. If you have talent in the kitchen, try making a big batch of cookies, brownies or Christmas fudge. Your incredible edibles will not go to waste and your efforts will be greatly appreciated by the sweet tooth loved ones in your life.
The art of re-gifting is to find a nice item in your closet that you have never used or opened. Giving your own gift away to someone else does not always work, however if you have a quality item and it fits your intended recipient's personality, go for it. The re-gifting process may seem like you are being too thrifty, uncaring or passing along second-hand goods. However, the reality is that the item simply didn't suit you and may be a gold mine for someone else.
8. Early Bird Shopping
Part of the problem with getting into debt at the holidays is that your bank account is overburdened in December. To alleviate the spending at the end of the year, try to purchase your Christmas gifts a few at a time as early as possible. If you start in the spring, you will be able to pick up some fabulous winter wardrobe items at clearance sale prices. So keep a sharp eye out all year long and buy what you can out of season. Stash your Christmas gifts away in a quiet closet and you will be amazed at how little is left to be done in December.
9. Put A Spending Cap On Each Person
Setting spending limits is essential to take charge of managing your Christmas gift budget. This is especially true if you have a lot of grandchildren to go around. Keep your gifts limited to two or three packages per child and set a strict spending limit to meet and exceed your budget. Not only will you save money at the end of the day, each child will be equally accounted for with no hurt feelings over who got what.
10. Cutting Back On Wrapping Costs
Once you have purchased your Christmas gift, the spending is not over yet. To cut back on wrapping costs, try to avoid having your packages gift wrapped at the mall. Doing it yourself can rack up impressive savings and you may cut a few more corners in the process. The best time to buy your Christmas wrapping paper is after the holiday when the rolls are half priced. Store them away for the next year and try to buy in bulk for a variety of colors, textures and unique paper designs. You may also wish to share your wrapping paper with a friend at a wrapping party to stretch your money and provide more variety with the paper you have.
11. Homemade Gifts
Homemade gifts add a personal touch and can be priceless to the recipient. Use your imagination and create a unique gift geared specifically for the intended receiver. Photo collections are a brilliant gift for close friends and family. Photos may be entered into an album or you could make a decoupage clip art project on a jewelry box, photo album cover, serving tray, etc.
12. Cutting Costs On Your Christmas and New Year's Eve Parties
By the time you get to your holiday parties, your budget may be pushed to the max. You don't want to cancel your holiday parties, so it will take a little ingenuity to stretch the party budget. Rather than cooking for a large crowd or spending a mint on take away, ask your guests to bring a dish and coordinate who brings what with appetizers, entrees and desserts. In addition, ask them to bring their own bottle with a BYOB request on the invitations.
Photo: (c) Claudia Balasoiu / fotolia.com