A few years ago I posted holiday gift packs I purchased for all under $50. This didn’t mean one thing for $50 but rather a few special pieces to create a little gift pack. Over the weekend I was thinking about the holidays as there are only six weeks to go. I have barely started planning! This year I didn’t want to create a blog with a list holiday items to buy. I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips on how to make your dollar go further and to ensure you won’t go into debt before the holidays.
These tips are about helping you make a plan (I will never get tired of saying this!!) If you have a plan in place it takes the guesswork out of shopping, streamlines the process and helps you stick to your budget.
Figure out your budget
Although the holidays are quite commercial, that doesn’t mean you have to spend more than you can afford. A few years ago I overheard a woman in a line buying gifts say she was still paying off her gift purchases from last year. What? I think she might be missing the point of the holidays if she works all year to pay off her holiday debt. Don’t you? Make a budget first. I think it’s the most important piece.
Make a list of all the people you need to buy for during the holidays
Then check it twice! Choose those people close to you for the list and don’t add a dozen people from your office! Once you have a list created, start writing down ideas for each person. With ideas written down it’s easy to shop for items, compare costs and cross them off when you’ve found the perfect gift! If you really want to do something for your coworkers, set aside a small amount of the budget to bake or buy a special treat!
Split up your budget
Once you know your budget, the number of people you’re shopping for and have a few gift ideas, you can divide your funds. Now this doesn’t necessarily work out evenly. Look at the list and base your budget on the gifts you are looking to purchase. Last year I spent almost $60 on one person and only $30 on another but their gifts were equally great! Remember you’re the only one that will know how much each gift cost.
You don’t have to spend your full budget
Do you ever set a budget and then feel like you have to spend the whole amount? I do. Honestly I don’t know why! It’s more important to purchase a gift you love rather than worrying about the cost. A few Christmases ago I only spent $30 each on my niece and nephew but was so happy with their gifts. It didn’t feel it was enough. I tried to find another gift to spend the remainder of the budget, but couldn’t find anything I liked. Finally I gave up, it didn’t feel right to spend the money simply to meet the budget I set out. I ended up using the money I saved on a holiday party with our friends!
Think outside the box
By this I mean big box stores and online shopping, look closer to home. I found really affordable items at a few craft markets and local shops last year, plus these items were a nice quality and unique. Whenever possible I try to shop local. I know it is easier to go online after a long day. Carving out some time to go shopping with your partner or girlfriends can be really fun. Not only are you getting all of your holiday shopping done, but you are creating wonderful memories.
I know the holiday season can feel overwhelming. If there is a way to eliminate added stress by making a plan, it’s a good palce to start. Have you set your holiday budget yet? Is it a number you feel comfortable? Are you spending more than you can afford because you feel you have to? If this year has a tighter budget ask some family members to do a secret Santa so you only have to worry about one gift instead of six! There are always options.
Don’t forget to check out my amazing finds and see how I pulled together nice gift packs for everyone in my family.
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