We all know it’s coming. The decorations hit the shelves as soon as the Halloween candy is gone, and not long after that we are spending money like crazy. Already you have to put up with bad roads, long lines and endless events to go to. Dipping into your overdraft or your credit shouldn’t be on the top of your Christmas stress list.
Remember, before spending too much, that the root of the holiday season is to be able to spend time with our families, enjoy a good meal and make the most of the last month of the year.
Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas specifically, chances are you could still benefit from some holiday spending tips. With a little planning, you can make the holidays more zen than stressful.
Make a list.
And not just any list. We recommend creating a list using an Excel spreadsheet. Keep track of who you always buy gifts for, what you got them the year before and how much you can afford to spend on their gift. We say can because gift giving on a budget needs to be based on how much you can afford to spend rather than how much you want to spend.
It may seem a bit daunting, but trust us, having a running list will keep you organized, your budget on track and will eliminate repeat gifting.
Get a head start.
The best Christmas shoppers are on the look out for gifts all year round. If you buy multiples of small gifts for friends or coworkers, you will save yourself the stress of going out and buying everything all at once. Your bank account will thank you too because the purchases will be spread out over the course of a year.
Eat, drink or burn.
The most successful and most affordable gifts are always those that you eat, drink or burn. Whether you bring a bottle of wine for the hostess of a dinner party, a cheese plate for your in-laws or a scented candle for your bestie, they are all-round crowd pleasers. Gifts like this show you were thinking of them without breaking the bank.
Quality not quantity.
It’s hard not to feel guilty when a friend unexpected spoils you and you have to struggle to return the favour. It’s not about how much you spend, but the effort you made to select the perfect gift for them. Even better if it’s homemade. Baking your coworkers cookies is an affordable way to show your appreciation. And don’t stress if someone unexpected buys you a gift. Simply thank them and if you cannot afford to reciprocate, just send them a little note card saying, ‘Thanks for thinking of me this year. Merry Christmas.’
Organize a Secret Santa.
A great way to avoid buying a bunch of different presents for your big group of friends is to organize a Secret Santa or draw names for a gift exchange. Find a price point everyone can agree on, anywhere from $10 to $50. Works great for big families too!
We hope our Christmas spending tips help make your holiday shopping just a little bit easier!
For even more tips on starting your shopping early, check this out: http://www.wikihow.com/Start-Your-Christmas-Shopping-Early