$801, that’s what participants in a survey from the American Research Group estimated they would spend on Christmas presents last year (and in my experience, it’s really easy to go over what you plan on). Americans, in 2011, were also estimated to spend the second most in the world on Christmas presents with Luxembourg coming in with the highest number.
For most families, presents are a huge part of Christmas celebration. Maybe you’d have unexpected expenses this year or your incomes been cut. Or perhaps you are wanting to simply lower the emphasis on presents this year. When you are on a tight budget, what can you do to stretch the money and make the most of it?
Tips for Christmas Presents on a Budget:
1. Make a list of everyone you usually buy for
Sit down and really brainstorm so you won’t have any unexpected surprises. Kids, spouse, your company party, extended family etc. Do you normally give a gift to your neighbor or babysitter? Write them down as well. Don’t worry about eliminating people from your list, yet, we’ll get to that later.
2. Have a Gift Budget
If you already have a budget, see what you have left in your gift category and then decide if you are putting any extra money towards presents for the holiday season (and how much if you are adding to it). If you don’t currently have a gift budget, look at the money you have coming in and see what you are able to allocate towards presents.
Write down the amount of money you have to work with.
3. Re-Evaluate your List of Individuals to Buy For
Now that you have a dollar amount, look back over your list. If money is tight this year, you might have to cut down on the number of people you purchase for or be willing to get creative or make some more affordable presents this year.
4. Take the Money out in Cash
Take the money that you allocated for Christmas presents out in cash and put it in an envelope. If you make a purchase online, take that amount of money out of the envelope and deposit it in the bank. There is just something about using cash that keeps you from spending as much and makes it impossible to go over budget.
5. Don’t Over Buy.
This is so easy to do! Even for me, and I’m not a big shopper. So, what do you do to keep this from happening? Take your list of whom to buy for and make a list of what you are going to buy for each person. STICK TO IT! So often, I’ll find just one more thing that would be perfect and the stash of presents keeps growing.
6. Use Homemade Gifts
Do you like to sew? Use those skills and fabric from your stash or that you buy 40% off and make your kids dress up clothes, a tent to drape over a table, cute aprons for the ladies on your list. Sewing not your thing but you are a whiz in the kitchen? Do some baking. Maybe spa and personal care items are more of your thing. Put together a gift basket of scrubs, lotions, and lip balms you made. There are countless options. Look on Pinterest and search on Swagbucks to find ideas.
7. Buy Used
Okay, I know some people will hate this idea. I’m not saying to buy junk – be selective. I also know that in our home some portion of my kids’ gifts (3 1/2 and 18 months – I know this gets harder as they get older) are used every year! I’ve found books in great condition, like new puzzles, board games, clothes, and toys. Check garage sales and Facebook buy sell trade groups for your city.
(If you have a 2 year old, keep your eyes open for some of these items! Many of them I’ve been able to find used.)
8. Shop Around
Do your research and know what a good price is. Before you purchase an item from Amazon, make sure it isn’t on sale at Target or Wal-Mart and likewise, before you purchase at a store, make sure there hasn’t been a price drop on Amazon. Also, check out Camel Camel Camel before you submit your Amazon order to see if you might get a lower price if you wait!
9. Bulk Gift
No you aren’t going to be able to get everyone identical presents but if you can duplicate presents at all - maybe identical presents for all the co-workers and Christmas parties and like gifts for your baby-sitter, hair stylist etc. you can actually use up what you bought instead of having 4/5 of the bag of beeswax pellets sitting in our cabinet for years.
Ideas: gift baskets for your co-workers and your siblings, Christmas sweets for goody bags (this fudge would be a perfect addition), homemade earrings for all the females in your life etc
10. Shop Year Round
Don’t wait for December to start thinking about presents. If you keep a running list of what you want to purchase for your family, you can be watching for great deals all year! It might be too late for this Christmas, but make your list for 2015 early and shop post-Christmas sales!
This is an easy way to increase your Christmas shopping money a little bit. You earn points for doing web searches, streaming short videos, taking surveys and more. I don’t invest lots of time into it, but as I’m doing things on the computer I’ll have videos stream in the background and I’ll use their search engine. My goal is at least 35 Swagbucks a day. If I am able to accomplish that, I can purchase two $5 Amazon gift cards a month! It might not sound like a lot, but every bit adds up – $120 over the course of a year.
Just because your Christmas budget is smaller this year you don’t have to stress! It can still be a season filled with memories for your family. What tips do you have for Christmas presents on a budget?
Looking for gift ideas? Check out these three gift guides:
Gift Ideas for a Teenage Girl
Gift Ideas for a Two Year Old
Homemade Gift Baskets (Food and Drink Themed)
Linking up to these fun parties!