It’s the time of year when you spread the cheer of the season through the giving of presents to those you love. But all of this seasonal spending can really make a dent in your bank account, especially if you’re trying to be as budget-conscious as possible.
We’ve assembled 8 simple ways to save a few bucks on your holiday gift giving, while not compromising on the quality of your gifts!
1) Start with a List
How does a list help you save money? Just walk into any store this time of year and tell us you don’t feel overwhelmed! The signs, the discounts, the glitz, and glitter can all overtake even the most seasoned shopper.
Make a list of everyone you’ll give a gift to, complete with suggestions on what to give. Refer back to your list throughout the day. Otherwise, you may end up over-buying and over-spending.
2) Create a Budget
It’s easy to get swept up in the generosity of giving, but come January, you don’t want to start the new year broke. Decide what you can afford, what each gift will roughly cost you, what you can spend on Christmas all together, and stick to it.
3) Check Online Prices First
Quite often, retailers go to their websites to post discount codes or coupons you can use that aren’t available in brick-and-mortar stores. Chances are it should take only a few clicks you can find a coupon to use.
4) Let Someone Else Ship It
If you’re shopping online, take advantage of their shipping and gift wrapping services and have your gift sent directly to your loved one. There’s no sense in shipping an item to your home, wrapping it, and then standing in line at the post office to spend more money to ship to them. The Internet has made life so much easier in many ways, so harness the simplicity of it all, especially this time of year!
5) Wait Until Almost the Last Minute
What?!? Wait? No, we’re not trying to stress you out – we’re trying to help you save money. Retailers often slash their prices even lower in the weeks leading up to Christmas than they do on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
So while we’re not suggesting you wait until Christmas Eve to start shopping, consider waiting a bit deeper into December in hopes you can grab additional deals.
6) For Edible Gifts, Make Your Own
Stores love to bundle chocolates, fudge, and cookies in pretty gift wrap for gift giving. But it’s just as easy to spend a few hours and make your own. If you have small children, this gets them involved in the gift-giving spirit, too.
Purchase paper or plastic bags from any craft supply store to package your presents, and then make them festive with a piece of ribbon and a sprig of fresh holly or fir from a real tree.
Need a suggestion? Try this chocolate chip and pecan cookie recipe. If you can find Texas pecans, use those so your gift has the spirit of our great state. You might even start a tradition with your co-workers and friends asking for these cookies each year!
Texas Pecan and Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup of butter (two sticks)
- ¾ cup cane sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 1 cup Texas pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix the butter and sugar to a creamy consistency.
- Stir in eggs and beat gently.
- Add baking powder, salt, and flour.
- Stir until mixture is well combined.
- Add chocolate chips and pecans.
- Place teaspoon sized drops onto greased sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Allow to cool before removing from sheet. Once completely cooled, place into your gift bags for giving.
7) Take Advantage of Reward Programs
Many credit cards offer points for shopping, so why not add to your point tally by shopping with those cards? Immediately pay off whatever you spend with your allotted budget, and you won’t pay a dime in interest.
8) Cash in Your Rewards Points
While we’re on the topic of credit cards, cash in your reward points this time of year at the retailers linked up with the credit card companies. Even if gift cards to restaurants are the only physical item you can cash in for, it makes a great gift for anyone. Who doesn’t love a free meal?
Best of luck with your holiday gift giving! We hope our tips help you stay on budget and in a festive mood all season long.