With the holidays just around the corner everyone’s budget belts are feeling a lot more strain, and sometimes we end up falling off of our budget/debt payoff plan simply because we want to make the holidays more special by spoiling those we love.
But here is the thing, you don’t have to change your debt plan or fall of the tracks for the holidays, you can stay right on track and still get your loved ones gifts to enjoy.
Here are some tips we’ve used throughout the years that have saved us a ton of money, and made it easier to budget-
Buy gifts throughout the year instead of all at once. We start buying gifts around Halloween, partially because we have a small home and not a ton of storage, but also because we don’t want to buy a gift in June to find out in September that the person got it for their birthday, or bought it for themselves. We also do this because I am not the best secret keeper and enjoy giving gifts so much sometimes I can’t wait until Christmas to give them. During the holidays, I use portions of our “fun money” or “eating out” portion of our budget to buy gifts, which is why spread out buying gifts so we can still have fun while sticking to our plan.
Start buying gifts at least four paychecks before the holiday to spread out the costs.
Also be sure to shop at more frugal stores such as Ross, Target, TJMaxx, Dollar Store or Dealz (just trust me, they have gifts you can get), craft stores (they have tons of coupons and unique items in their décor areas or kids crafting sections), and of course, go to Amazon.
Buy family (or couple) gifts instead of individual gifts. Your nieces and nephews are for sure going to be getting a ton of gifts from their parents, Santa, their grandparents, and, if they’re lucky enough to be a part of a very giving family like ours, everyone else. What we started doing in current Christmases is getting all the kids one toy in the $20-$30 price range and then getting the family a gift basket to share.
The biggest hit we’ve had before were a family movie night basket, complete with wine for mom and dad, candy for the kids, a gift card to the DVD store, and a cuddly blanket. For a couple, we got them an Italian Date Night basket with wine, glasses, fancy noodles with homemade sauce, and a dessert to bake.
Try to go in with others on a gift. While I can’t share the details, we (my brothers and I plus our spouses) are all going in on one gift for our parents instead of all getting them separate things.
Buy fewer things and more experiences. While it may cost the same to pay for a mother daughter day with your mom as it would buying her a normal gift, to me, it is more economically conscious to pay for memories and experiences, versus something that, more than likely will collect dust after a few months.
Purchase items that give points/cash back, or use payment methods that do. While I normally avoid using credit cards like the plague after we discovered how much debt we had (Holla, we just paid them all off thanks to insanely pulling back on EVERYTHING for a few months) if your credit card offers you cash back, or credit on your bill, versus paying in cash, use that, but then immediately pay it off before it can get interest accrued.
For most people on our list this year, I purchased items through my company, Young Living, so I would get points back for more free product (which means me saving money later on when I buy items for me) later on, and I am able to save a lot of money by buying small gift kits and splitting them up among people. Plus, they’re economically conscious gifts that last a long time and cost little money when you divide the items out among several people.
Or, just skip gifts all together for the holidays. The year we got married, err, last year 😉 we told all of our family to expect nothing from us gift wise because we were paying off our wedding from October. You know what? No one cared and they all understood! While we did end up gathering up some cash to buy a few small things, we toned back greatly on what we bought, and really learned that we didn’t need to spend a ton of money every year like we used to.
If you still want to give gifts, some items that are frugal include:
- Homemade bath bombs (make a ton and gift a few to each person with a cute bath towel)
- Pay for a Paint Nite Class with them for both of you to attend
- Family Movie Night Basket
- Date Night Basket
- Babysitting coupons for new parents
- Science/Art Kits for siblings to share (our nephews loved the science kit we got them last year!)
- Hot Cocoa mixes with mugs (or tea or coffee)
- Baking Accessories (utensils, oven mitt, and some of your favorite recipes)
- Homemade flavored extracts and seasonings
- Rice heating pads (sew some cute patterned fabric into a bag shape and fill with rice)
- Bake a ton of (more unique and less popular) Christmas treats and give them out
- Drinking classes with their initials on it (I found a set of 4 high ball classes with ‘C’ on them for $9 at Ross last year for Cyle)
What other tips do you have for saving money during the holidays? Have you successfully given any other kind of frugal gifts before? Share them below!