When it comes to the holidays it can be very easy to overspend on gifts. I’m guilty of it and I know I’m not alone.
I love giving even more than I like receiving, so it’s tough for me to cut down on spending. But as the years have gone by, and our families have started to grow, the purse strings have had to tighten.
So, what can you do when it comes to easing up on holiday spending? I’m not a financial expert, but here are a few tips that might just help you stay in the black:
- Set a budget and stick to it! I know it sounds simple enough, but it really is easier said than done. If it will help ensure that you don’t overspend, use the jar system. Put a designated amount of cash into a jar and once it’s gone you’re done shopping.
- Secret Santa: rather than buying a ‘small’ gift for everyone on your list, why not draw names out of a hat and purchase just one gift? Our friends do it this way, the men buy ‘guy gifts’ while the women buy something for the ladies, and we have a random draw at our Christmas party.
- Secret Santa for the kids: now that we’re at the stage where we have a couple of kids each we’ve even toyed with the idea of a kids’ Secret Santa gift exchange. That way, the same rules apply: you don’t have to buy a bunch of gifts, just one per child.
- Set some ground rules: are you only buying for adults? Are you just buying for the kids? For us, this rule changes based on who we’re referring to. For friends we just do a secret Santa gift exchange among the adults, whereas for family (since a lot of our Birthdays are right near the holidays) we choose ONLY to buy Christmas gifts for the kids.
- If you like wine and most of your friends and family do too, then why not make some? You can make a bottle your own at many local wine shops for a fraction of the cost of buying it in stores. Also, keep your wine bottles throughout the year to help cut down on costs. It’s a great personalized gift that everyone will enjoy.
- When in doubt search online! There are TONS of cute little mason jar gift ideas on Pinterest. You can find anything from cute hot chocolate and coffee-related presents to a manicure in a jar …and most of them are under $20!
- Buy used: I know it sounds questionable, but you can actually find some great items still in the package on sites like Kijiji and eBay.
- Save throughout the year: we haven’t done it in recent years but one thing that we found extremely helpful was to put away some extra cash each month. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount. Setting aside even $25 monthly will mean that you have $300 just for Christmas spending once December rolls around.
Like I said, I’m not a financial expert but saving money is important to me and my family, and I like to think I’m pretty economical. Besides, giving gifts isn’t about how much you spend, it’s about sharing in the season with those you love.