Have you ever been shocked after you calculated your finances once the holiday season was over? Yup, you ended up spending way TOO much money on gifts, didn’t you?! Today I will share my 9 Easy ways to NOT overspend this Holiday season.
If you’ve ever found yourself spending way too much money on Christmas gifts, this post will help give you tips to avoid overspending this holiday season.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that we really decided to tone things down in the “money spending department” during Christmas time. Mostly because we try and focus on the real meaning of Christmas (Christ’s birth) and also because we like to be frugal and money conscience and not overspend frivolously.
Growing up for me, Christmas was a time filled with way too many gifts, and way too much money spent.
Ready to gasp?
Each of us kids had a $500 limit that could be spent on us for Christmas gifts…
So, when I got married and had kids of my own, I decided to bring that horrible pattern into our new family. And we went ALL OUT on gifts our first few Christmases.
However, the more serious Mr. Hubs and I got about truly celebrating Christmas for the right reasons and focusing the Christmas season around Jesus, giving and serving others, and making family traditions…
PLUS getting more serious about our finances and being debt-free, we quickly decided that “overspending” on Christmas gifts, would not do!
Before we dive into the 9 ways to not overspend this Holiday season, let’s first make sure we’re on the same page with our mindset.
Please, my dear friend, don’t feel like you need to compete or keep up with your friend’s family who spends (X amount) on each child for Christmas. Their family might make $200k a year, so their (X amount) per child isn’t a big deal to them.
Whereas your household might only bring home $80k a year, so a more modest amount for each family member is a million times more economical, for you.
To make things easier for you, don’t even ask your friends and family what they spend on their families for Christmas.
Every family has their own special situations, bills, take-home income, etc., so don’t compare yourself with anyone, but yourself!
There is no reason you should go into debt, or cause financial issues in your family and marriage because you want to spend a ton of money on Christmas gifts.
9 Easy Ways To NOT Overspend This Holiday Season!
1. Budget and Stick to it
This is by far THEE most important step to ensure you don’t overspend on Christmas gifts this year.
DO NOT skip this step!!
First and foremost, you need to decide what’s a proper budget for your ENTIRE Christmas shopping.
And this will depend on many factors including your finances, bills, your take-home income, etc.
If you’re in debt and can’t pay your bills, you should consider making homemade gifts, or giving FREE gifts (see TIP #9).
After you decide on an overall holiday shopping budget, now you’ll want to divvy that amount out to everyone on your list (see tip TWO).
Finally, with the set budget you put in order, make sure you to stick to your budget!
You can do this!
2. Make a Shopping List
Choose the people you want to bless with gifts this year.
And when I say gifts, this can also mean something small, but meaningful.
Or even something that doesn’t cost much money, such as baking cookies for someone.
After you have your set budget (Tip ONE) and now your list (Tip TWO), it’s time to figure out how you’re going to divvy out the budget to your list of people.
One important tip I want to share here is that everyone doesn’t have to have the same amount.
For instance: A baby or toddler, doesn’t need the same budgeted amount as your teenager might.
AND — don’t feel pressured into thinking you need to spend “the same amount” on each child, near or around the same age.
And I’m not talking about playing favorites here, but sometimes children vary in their tastes, hobbies, and interests.
You might have one child who’s completely into reading books for Christmas, and that’s all they want, and another child might want new clothes.
Those two children could both get what they want for Christmas but at vastly different budgets. This doesn’t mean you’re playing favorites, it just means one child might want something a bit more or less expensive than the other sibling.
There’s nothing wrong with that!
Once you divvy out your budgeted amount between the people on your list, STICK TO YOUR BUDGET and THE LIST OF PEOPLE so you won’t overspend on your shopping this year!
3. Make A List of “WHAT”
Now that you have your budget (Tip ONE), your list of people (Tip TWO), set in motion, it’s now time to figure out and write down what everyone wants for Christmas OR your ideas for their gifts.
As we’ve personally minimalized our Christmas over the years, we now ask our kids to give us a couple of things they would like.
This doesn’t mean they will get all of them, but it gives us a variety.
One cool method for a minimalistic approach to buying gifts could be:
Something they WANT
Something they NEED
Something to WEAR
Something to READ
How’s that for a simple and easy?
On your list, (NOTE: bring it with you anytime you’re out shopping) it should have the amount you’ll be spending on each person, and what you plan on getting them within their allotted budget.
- Suzy ($75) – Babydoll, headband, tea set
- Billy Bob ($100)- Toy truck, board game, book series, basketball, shoes
- Mother in Law ($0) – NOTHING!
Hahaha just kidding!
- Mother In Law ($35) – Photobook of grandkids
- Husband’s Boss ($5) – Make homemade cookies
- Sister ($20) – Scarf, shirt, a gift card to a restaurant
Do you see?
Very simple and straight forward, but organized and will definitely help keep you in budget!
4. Use Discounted Places Like Groupon for bulk Discounted Gifts
Groupon sometimes has awesome “bulk” gifts for a good price.
Now the deals you find on Groupon will depend on where you live and what’s nearby, but doing a quick search on Groupon deals near me, I found these that would make great, inexpensive Christmas Gifts:
- Bowling Deal normally $46 for two people PLUS shoe rental for $25. You could give this to a couple, which would then take care of 2 gifts for $25.
- Paintball normally $20 for an all-day pass for ONE person, all for only $5! Talk about an awesome deal for a young boy on your Christmas list.
- Restaurant Vouchers for usually 50% off. Spend $10 and get $20-$30 worth to spend on meals at restaurants.
As you can see, shopping on Groupon and other such like places, can you give you an awesome bang for your buck when buying gifts this Holiday Season!
5. Use online discount sites for toys, home, clothing gifts and more
If someone on your list is requesting items like clothing, toys or home goods, it never hurts to check out these online discounted retailers.
I am super obsessed with Zulily for clothing and toys, and we almost bought 100% of the kid’s gifts last year on Zulily for Christmas.
You can’t beat the discounted prices, and shopping online is such a breeze!
And of course, shopping Amazon never hurts also!
6. Use Shutterfly for Extremely Cheap Photo Gifts
For family members, such as grandparents, most of them love to have picture gifts.
A personalized mug with the grandkids, a photobook, a photobook calendar; you name it!
Shutterfly usually offers such good discounts and even FREE items (you usually pay shipping), around Christmas time.
This means you can get away with getting the grandparents or family member a beautiful and personalized gift for under $8, easily.
7. Shop online to avoid impulse purchases in-store
They have deals and it gets shipped to your door quickly.
But to avoid other impulse shopping purchases, or even just to avoid the lines and hustle and bustle, Christmas shop online!
If you need something from Target, Walmart, and others, just shop online on their website also!
Even better…. most of these stores offer FREE shipping to the store, so you can avoid paying the shipping costs and just simply go pick up your gifts.
Boom, you’re done and from the comfort of your own home!
8. Use Cash and Envelopes!
Money spent is hard to track when you start swiping away with the debit card.
After you’ve already been to three stores, and purchased 7 different items, it will get so confusing to remember who you bought for, and how much you spent on them.
What we do is we get envelopes, and place each person’s name on the envelope with the certain allotted amount you get to spend on each person.
When shopping, simply use the money from their envelopes to purchase their gifts to make life more organized and help you stay in the budget.
By doing the cash and envelope system, you will be more likely to stick to your budget, as opposed to if you were using a debit card.
9. Give meaningful gifts
Presents are just material things. They come and they go, they get broken and eventually lost.
One way you can save money on your holiday Christmas shopping expenses is to give a meaningful gift.
Here are some of my favorite meaningful and frugal Christmas gifts to give:
- One of my favorite “free” gift ideas, is to give the gift of dinner + game night at your house.
This is such a sweet idea to give to close family friends!
You can get creative about the ways you want to give this gift, but one way is to make a cute card that says, “This ticket is for one dinner night and games at our house. You choose the date!”.
2. Babysitting voucher to a friend.
For Christmas, you can do the same thing as above, but instead, the note can say, “This ticket is good for one night of babysitting, so you and your hubs can go on a date night!”
3. Bake something!
Bake your favorite goodies and drop them off to someone.
4. Make something!
Cant you knit, or sew, or are your crafty? Make a gift for someone!
Bottom line: Just remember that gifts don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful, utilize the many websites that offer discounts, use cash, make a list and ultimately stick to your reasonable budget and you will be on your way to NOT overspending this holiday season!