The holidays come around, and I naturally want to buy everyone something unique and thoughtful. Unfortunately, my budget always gets stretched to the limit and I have to spend the following months playing “catch up”.
I’ve decided I’m not going that route this year. Instead I am doing a few other things to satisfy my desire to give WHILE spending within my means. Here are some of the tips I trying out.
Write your list BEFORE you go shopping: Every year, without fail, I end up buying for more people than I originally planned. That’s because while I am out shopping I happen to see something my Uncle’s neighbor’s cousin would like. This year I am ONLY buying for the people on my list, and I’ve kept that list pretty reasonable.
Choose a budget: Next to each person’s name on my list is a dollar amount. I don’t know if that seems callous, but so be it. The amount varies from person to person and it was a very personal choice. For example- I am only spending $15 on my nieces and nephews. Im spending $25 on my coworkers, and $200 on my partner. I realized that spending $30 on everyone didn’t make sense for me, but setting a budget did.
Be upfront: There are certain people I am not planning on spoiling this year, so I just let them know that I am going another route! For example, I usually buy for all my friends- this year I am planning on seeing them all for a christmas party. The drinking, eating, and acting rowdy will be in lieu of a tangible gift. Something similar might be, “instead of holiday gifts, why won’t we go out for coffee”. It’s less money and just as meaningful.
Consider group gifts: It seems like everyone is married and has a family of their own now. I used to buy for my best friend, but now the last few years Ive felt it was necessary to buy for her, her husband, and their children. Perhaps instead of buying for each person individually, you can consider buying a gift for the home or particular group. An example might be a movie, popcorn, and candies.
Extend your giving after December: There are certain people that I want to buy for, but my budget doesn’t allow for it this month. To work around that I will get their gifts AFTER christmas. I don’t want to dip into my savings, or use my credit card, so instead I’ll have to use part of my January paycheck. All I have to do is suggest we exchange gifts after the holidays. I will be in a better position financially and things will have died dow, so we will have more time to spend together anyways.
Don’t forget it really is the thought that counts: A bottle of whiskey and a candle go a long way. You really don’t have to spend a lot, just showing up with something that says ‘I thought about you’ makes all the difference.
The holidays don’t have to be stressful, and they definitely shouldn’t break the bank. Let me know if you have other suggestions for saving money during the holiday season!