Manage your holiday finances with a little thought and planning
Start by giving yourself a limit: a fair amount you’re comfortable spending that makes you feel good about giving, but not over-taxed. Remember that simple, heartfelt gifts are much more appreciated than a large quantity of high-priced trinkets. These simple tips can help you make the holiday both rewarding and less of a financial burden.
1. Make a Plan
Suggest what or how much to exchange, and decide together on a gift limit. You could also exchange something simple, like cookies; or give to charities in each others’ honor. You might even learn that you’re not the only one looking to save.
2. Play Secret Santa
In a larger family or group of friends, everyone can save when you choose names and give to just one person instead of every member of the crew. This method also allows for setting ground rules to save even more, such as limiting the value of the gift. It might even kick off a new tradition for every gift-giving event.
3. Purchase Fewer Items in Larger Quantities
To save both money and time, find a sincere, useful gift, and buy enough for everyone in bulk. You may save on the purchase price, and can sometimes find ways to personalize each one to give them more meaning. Get creative by putting together “gift baskets” for each person full of small, thoughtful items, and personalize each with a note.
4. Enjoy Experiences Together
Suggest a family or friend outing instead of gift exchanges. Everyone can handle their own expenses, and you can keep it simple and fun. Consider an outdoor activity that includes treats, a local play, or a visit to a nearby attraction. Or have a cozy get together at home to save even more. You could also find photos of your experiences from the past year to frame and give.
5. Give the Gift of Your Time
An even better money-saver and a really nice thing to do: volunteer your time in a meaningful way, such as helping on someone’s DIY project, fixing an item they can’t repair themselves, babysitting, or helping out with a big commitment. Make sure it’s something you’re good at, and remember to follow through on the promise to help.
6. Take Advantage of Specials
Find stores that offer discounts or bonus gifts if you purchase a certain amount, like gift cards (e.g. “Buy a $25 Gift Card and receive a Free $5 Gift Card”). You can apply the bonuses to gifts for others, or put them into your own budget for your needs once the holidays are over. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!
Remember that giving gifts is all about the spirit of generosity, and doing something kind for the receiver of your gift. Pay special attention to their wants and needs, and you’ll always find something special and meaningful to them. Most of all, embrace the joy of giving!
Have tips you’d like to share? Help others on a budget with your ideas.