Thanksgiving is just a few days away and then the official start of the holiday season will be upon us. I am just about done checking off my Christmas shopping list and I owe it all to writing my list early, setting a budget and accounting for every purchase I’ve made. While holiday shopping can be a stressful thing, I am going to share some of my personal money saving holiday tips to get you through it.
MAKE A LIST
Take a hint from Santa. He makes a list. He checks it twice. You know how it goes. Every year when our discussion about Christmas shopping happens, the first thing I do is make a shopping list. I like to get an early start so I’m not scrambling to buy gifts into December. You don’t have to get as fancy as I do and keep a neat and tidy spreadsheet. Keep a notebook handy and designate a page to your holiday shopping. Write down who you intend to shop for, then write the gift you intend to purchase/have purchased, how much you spent and where you bought it. Keep a file or envelope for your receipts in case returns or exchanges need to be made after the holidays.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET
After you’ve made your list, think about how much you intend to spend on each person and stick with it. You’ll find yourself at ease when you have a set budget for each gift recipient. You won’t have to worry about overspending. And believe me, I can definitely overspend! I love gift giving, but our list is pretty major. Having a budget also makes deciding what to buy each person a little easier.
SHOP ONLINE AND USE COUPON CODES
If you’re anything like me and hate dealing with crowds and long lines, online shopping is a sanity saver. Besides, who doesn’t love getting a package in the mail? I also find that I can sometimes score a better deal online through searching for coupon codes. Around the holidays, you can pull up a Google search and find a plethora of promos and codes to enter at checkout. I also browse Groupon for deals to use in-store and online. Do your research and enjoy shopping in your PJ’s!
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CASH BACK WEBSITES
While you’re shopping online, you might as well take advantage of getting some cash back to treat yourself for all those hours of shopping, baking and wrapping you’ve been doing. Sign up for websites like Ebates and Coupon Cactus and get cash back from participating retailers when you shop online. Ebates gives you an incentive to sign up by giving you a $10 gift card (after spending $25 through their site). Every little bit helps and around the holidays, these sites often offer double cash back!
I love including handmade gifts for Christmas. Whether it’s a container of homemade cookies or a handmade ornament, there’s nothing more special than receiving something that someone took time out to make especially for you. Not into DIY? Support independent artists and small business by shopping their handmade crafts on Etsy or in local stores.
DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY THE SEASON
With all of the stress of shopping and prepping. it’s easy to get lost in the madness of the holiday season. But don’t forget to take a breather and simply enjoy the magic of Christmas. Make your holiday to-do list a little more enjoyable while sipping a festive beverage or listening to Christmas carols. On your drive home, take the long route and look at Christmas lights. Relax in the evening with a cup of tea or cocoa and watch a favorite holiday movie. Keeping stress to a minimum will help you avoid impulse purchases and overspending.
How do you save money during the holiday season?