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I KNOW it’s barely November, but that means the weather is getting cold and cold weather means Christmas is coming. As of today there are 56 days until Christmas! Isn’t that crazy? I remember last year so vividly, 2017 has gone by so so fast.
If you’re like me, you LOVE Christmas. You love to give, you love to decorate, you love to celebrate! …but you’re also broke. Living by yourself gets expensive and you really feel it when you start to think about gift giving. So this morning on my bus ride on my way to work I was thinking ‘How can I save money this year? Or at least be smarter about my money and the holidays?’
I brainstormed and this is what happened. Now, just to stick with it and not buy that $432 gift that my mom wont use.
Set your budget
This seems obvious but not everyone does it. I’m guilty as charged.
This year I will. I’ll set an overall budget, and then budget per person/event that I need to spend money on.
Talk to your friends about presents
Which brings me to this. Do you and your friends exchange gifts? Talk to them and set a spending cap on your presents. I’m sure they’ll appreciate that too. Also this way you’ll get them gifts knowing you’ve spent the same amount. I know sometimes I would feel bad if I think I didn’t spend as much as my friends.
Suggest Secret Santa
This is a super fun and super easy way to cut costs! Do you celebrate with a group of friends/family? Suggest doing secret santa! This way, everyone gets something, the spending limit is set, and you end up just buying one gift instead of 10.
You can really make it fun and Google different ways to do Secret Santa. Definitely use Elfster for this. It pretty much puts your Secret Santa on autopilot, doing the name drawing and wishlists online.
There’s also other ideas like the White Elephant game, stories where you pass the gift around in a circle (ie. ‘Sarah took a LEFT turn down the street. 5 minutes later she realized she LEFT her purse RIGHT at the bus stop.’ – you’d pass your gifts left, left again, and then right. HOW FUN IS THAT?)
This probably is given but it’s hard and I’m definitely procrastination station. But if you can, start your shopping early, buy gradually, and look for deals!
I LOVE online shopping. I can buy everything in the comfort of my own home and in my underwear if I wanted to.
The other reason I love online shopping is that there are so many coupon codes out there that you can use, you end up saving so much money! I usually just Google “Store name coupon code” and cross my fingers a few come up.
Also a lot of online stores will give you FREE shipping if you spend over a certain amount. Usually is really isn’t that much and makes it totally that much more worth it.
So skip the crazy stores and malls and shop from your couch.
Ebates! Probably the best thing for online shopping since coupon codes. Remember all that online shopping I was telling you to do? Start at Ebates FIRST. They offer you cash back on your purchases as long as you use their links on their site. Yes this is real, yes you’ll get money back, yes it’s that awesome. I’ve seen offers as much as 30% cash back. CRAZY TOWN.
They have almost any major retail brand/online shopping site you can think of, and it costs nothing extra for you to join.
Seriously, you’d be REALLLLLLY missing out and leave SO MUCH MONEY on the table if you don’t do this.
(Use my Ebates link and get a $5 bonus after your first purchase!)
Use a cashback creditcard
Love sites like Ebates to get cash back? Pair that with a cashback credit card for your online shopping and BAM! SO. MUCH. MONEY. SAVED.
Something to remember about kids; they don’t care about brands and they break things easily. It’s just the reality of it. So don’t get that 5 year old that name brand marker set. Will they care? Probably not. Will they color things with a cheaper set? You bet your money saving bum they will!
You can end up saving so much on kids gifts this way, and don’t feel guilty getting them a not as well known brand of something. If you save enough, you might even have some left over to put a couple extra stocking stuffers in there for them and nonesthewiser.
I love DIY gifts. They’re fun to do, you can put so much thought and effort into them, and the people receiving them can see that as well. Many of times I’ve gotten cookies, scarves, hot chocolate/baking mixes in mason jars, and even just a handmade card and I absolutely LOVED them all. You could see all the love put into these gifts and well, isn’t that what Christmas gift giving is all about?
Celebrations are full and plenty during the holiday season, which can easily add up when you’re preparing meals and gatherings. It’s really known that it’s mega easy to over spend on food when you’re having friends and family over.
Talk to your friends and family and suggest a potluck! Kind of like the Secret Santa thing. Everyone brings one item – everyone gets to enjoy!
Exchange gifts after Christmas
Sometimes it’s good to celebrate a little late. Almost everything goes on sale after Christmas day. In Canada we have Boxing Day, and I’m sure wherever you are, there are going to be mad sales the day after Christmas. If your gathering or meet up can wait until after Christmas, you’ve hit a little jackpot.
Research research research
Last but not least, just make sure you do your research. If there’s something in particular you absolutely must get someone, search different stores, flyers, coupons, online retailers, and see where the best deals are.
And have fun! Don’t forget that! The holidays shouldn’t be stressful, they should be fun and exciting and full of love! Also, full of savings from these tips!
Do you have any holiday money saving tips? Let me know in the comments!