As we pause to celebrate Thanksgiving and count our blessings, we’re also wise to count our cash. While many businesses will tempt you with all that is merry and bright to deck your halls, we’ve got some great ideas on how to keep yourself on a holiday budget.
Make spending categories
Organized Home which just published their Santa Savings Guide, suggests the following categories and a budget for each one.
- Stocking stuffers
- Gift wrap
- Postage and shipping
- Christmas cards
- Holiday photo
- Tips and service gifts
- Holiday meals
- Baking and kitchen gifts
- Décor items and Christmas tree
- Home improvements
- Travel expenses
- Holiday clothing
- Charitable donations
- Post-Christmas sales
What a great idea to even factor in the after Christmas sales. For more awesome strategies and worksheet, be sure to read the rest of the article.
Recycle! My friends and I buy presents for one another from secondhand stores. We reuse gift bags and boxes from previous years and often present baked goods on old plates―the pretty ones that are no longer part of a complete set. This year I am giving vintage recipe boxes (found at a secondhand store for a dollar or two) filled with my favorite recipe cards and a batch of my signature sweets, Oatmeal Scotchies.
Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
My friends and I exchange birthday gifts but not holiday gifts. Instead, we get together at someone’s house to enjoy a glass of wine and wrap presents together. By limiting gift buying to family, it’s much easier to stay within my budget.
Santa Ana, California
For years I hosted the traditional sit-down holiday dinner, but everyone would get so full on appetizers that they couldn’t really enjoy the meal. Then, 10 years ago, I decided to replace that feast with just hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and desserts. It feels more like a lovely cocktail party, with people mingling and laughing. Cutting out the big, fancy dinner slashed a huge expense from my budget, and we still get to have wonderful holiday food―just in smaller bites.
More ideas are waiting when you read the rest!
Find the Deals
US News Money offers some great strategies as well:
Start comparison shopping online. If you plan on making any big-ticket purchases this season, do some online research to learn more about features, benefits, prices and any available rebates. Look for coupon codes, and figure out which sites offer free shipping and other incentives that will keep costs down.
Consider homemade gifts this year. If you’re the crafty type, make a gift list of people who might appreciate handmade gifts or baked goods instead of store-bought items. You can save money on your gift spending by buying ingredients or craft supplies in bulk and by taking advantage of special offers at craft and thrift stores.
Put together a Black Friday shopping strategy. It’s no secret that you can find some incredible deals on big-ticket items and in-demand products during Black Friday weekend. If you have some specific items on your gift list, including personal electronics, computers, televisions, toys and even kids’ clothes, put together a Black Friday wish list so you can shop the circulars and map out a plan to round up what you need. Keep in mind that some retailers run Black Friday sales both online and offline, so you might be able to save yourself a trip to the store if you jump online when Black Friday madness begins. If you miss out on Black Friday fun, remember that Cyber Monday can also be a great time to score a few deals on this season’s must-haves.
Get the App
Try SnipSnap’s Scout feature, a sort of deal-finding concierge service. Here’s how it works: Use the SnapSnap app to photograph the product you want to buy. The app then finds the product in its database and looks for the best deal it can muster from around the Web — coupons, rebates and price-matching guarantees.
CouponSherpa offers a mobile app that lists hundreds of retailers alphabetically and offers in-store coupons and promo codes. The app can also advise you when retailers near your current location have coupons available (though you should be aware that not all retailers are equipped to accept coupons displayed on your phone).
As you consider which gifts will be as special as the people you are giving them to, please also consider supporting local small businesses too! If you’d like to give yourself the gift of a new home, we’d love to assist! Contact us today!