How To Have An Amazing Christmas On A Budget
Christmas! I feel like as soon as it’s over, it’s time to start planning again! While I love Christmas and the parties and get togethers around the holiday, it can certainly get expensive! Between family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, Christmas certainly has a way of making your wallet lighter.
With two kids (and one whose birthday is only five days before Christmas), I have had to figure out how to make Christmas less daunting and less expensive! Here are some ideas to help keep Christmas budget friendly!
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Decide Your Budget
Figure out what you are comfortable spending before you start shopping. There is no reason to break the bank or to charge gifts to a credit card. In fact, using a credit card that you aren’t going to pay off immediately is a quick way to tack on extra unnecessary money to your Christmas spending.
If you are committed to pay the credit card off before you are charged interest, use card that gets the best reward points. Some cards will give you cash back which can be used for presents as well. Win win!
Put away a few dollars a week or every month that is specifically for the holidays. Between hosting holiday dinners and gifts, it can be difficult to budget for all of the expenses. By putting away $20 per month, you’ll have $240 at the end of the year!
Whatever you can set aside will make it a little easier on your bank account come Christmas time.
Make a list
Making a list (and checking it twice) will help you keep on budget. Know who you need to buy for and jot down a few items that might make a great gift.
Don’t be afraid to ask for ideas! Parents usually have some ideas to help you narrow down ideas and point you in the right direction which will prevent wasting money on things they won’t use and cluttering up their house with things they don’t need.
Start your list early in the year! Keep your list in the Notes section of your phone or on a piece of paper in your wallet that you can easily refer back and add on to.
Shop the Sales
When it comes to shopping, I hate to pay full price for anything! Eventually, almost EVERYTHING goes on sale!
Before learning the ins and outs of sale times, I would spend a lot of time searching for the best deals and missing out because it wasn’t the right season. Now, I shop the end of season sales or when I know certain things are known to go on sale through out the year.
We live in South Florida, so it’s basically always summer weather. This makes it easy for me to find deals on summer clothes during the fall and winter months (especially online) when stores are making room for cooler weather clothes on their shelves.
Like and follow Just Surviving Motherhood’s Facebook page for deal alerts throughout the year!
Shopping online allows you to easily compare sale prices at various stores. Online stores like Amazon will tell you if the price has changed on an item you have in your cart or saved for later. Besides the opportunity to find the best price on what you’re looking for, shopping online saves your time and money spent on gas driving from store to store. Your time is worth money, too!
Ebates is a free website that actually pays you money for your online shopping. All you have to do is go to Ebates.com before each purchase. Better yet, you can download the Ebates button to your browser! Automatically, when you start shopping online at any of their featured stores, all you have to do is click on the button that will pop up on the upper right corner and THAT’S IT! Any purchases made will earn you money back!
Sign up for your FREE Ebates account here!
Bake your neighbors and friends a delicious banana bread, pumpkin bread, cookies, or make a home make apple butter.
My kids love to help with cooking and baking is one of the easiest ways to get them involved! My oldest daughter loves to crack eggs, pour ingredients, and mix – which is essentially every baking recipe you can think of.
Find some cute disposable containers like these and attach a cute tag sending warm wishes for the holiday season.
Buy things ahead of time (especially if they are on sale) and store them away until Christmas. It’s a good idea to keep a list in your designated storage area of what you bought specific presents for so you don’t forget when the time comes! Bonus: This works great for birthday presents as well!
Start a Christmas bin to keep things together or designate a section of a closet for storage. I have found so many toys, clothes, and other gift ideas earlier in the year and thought “Oh, that’s a great idea for a present for so and so.” And then I forget what X idea was and it adds to my scramble to find the perfect present at the end of the year!
I love DIY presents! Make family members ornaments with salt dough of your kids hand or foot prints and date it with the year. Who doesn’t love little baby “Mistle Toes”? We have also made ornaments with the kids photos on them. Let your kids get creative and add a recent photo when they are finished. Just punch a hole and add a ribbon!
I find DIY presents some of the most thoughtful gifts and it’s fun to look back on them in the future.
Spend on trips instead of gifts
We are just a couple of hours away from Orlando, Florida and this year, we plan on getting our kids tickets for Disney. We can use them three times between January and July. We did this last year, except didn’t do it as a Christmas gift and regretted it. We had an amazing time and enjoyed Disney and all of the characters at a fraction of the cost of the annual pass.
Also consider annual memberships to your local zoo, swimming lessons, aquariums, and kid’s gyms. If people send money for memberships, it’s a nice idea to send them photos of your child enjoying their time doing whatever it was that people contributed to as a “thank you”.
Make your own gift baskets
At your local thrift store, you will find an abundance of second-hand baskets in perfect condition. Buy a few and fill them up with things you know your loved ones will love. I have made Bloody Mary gift baskets with vodka, Bloody Mary mix, garlic stuffed olives, Slim Jim’s, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. I’ve made others with wine and charcuterie necessities. (Hmm… I see a theme here…)
Homemade gift baskets are a great way to avoid the over priced retail at Christmas time!
Buy what you’ll need
Buy clothes, shoes, or toys that your child will need for the upcoming year. This will prevent buying random toys and clothes throughout the year! Buy shoes and clothes the next size up and cut back on sporadic spending later on!
I hope these ideas will help you trim back your Christmas spending. What ideas do you have that help you save money during the holidays? Leave a comment below!