Christmas and Hanukkah are supposed to be happy times of the year however, when you're living on a budget they can quickly become stressful and difficult. I've found some great money saving solutions for buying presents that don't have to break the bank. By following these ideas I've saved thousands of dollars on gift giving and vacations over the last few years. I currently budget $500 annually for Christmas gifts. Since we have 11 children between us, and we have 4 grandchildren with 3 more on the way that's not really a lot of money. Here's how I do it.
Start saving for the next holiday as soon as the current one is over. Whether you save only a few dollars a month or $100 per month you'll be ready by pre-planning.
Shop Year Round
By shopping year round I am able to have gifts for all of my children, grand children and family. If I see an item that I know someone would love and I can afford it with my holiday budget, I go ahead and purchase it. I have a huge plastic tub that I keep in my room that I place the gifts in. On the lid I have a piece of paper with everyone's name. As I buy a gift I mark it on the list and then know I don't have to buy anything more for that person.
It's The Thought That Counts
Gifts don't have to be expensive to mean something to someone. One of my sons collects swords. I have found swords in the most interesting places such as flea markets, yard sales, craigslist etc.. By purchasing gifts in this fashion I've saved hundreds of dollars on a gift that will be treasured for decades to come. Be creative and find out what everyone on your list loves then go from there.
Don't plan to shop all at once. Buy your gifts slowly throughout the year and pace yourself. By spreading it out you save money and can afford to wait for that special gift for your special someone.
Watch The Clearance Sales
Before you leave the house check your list. Have several gift ideas in mind. If you see anything on your list consider purchasing it. One gift at a time will add up and you'll be glad for the savings.
Day After Sales
Take advantage of "day after holiday" sales. I once spent $15 on wrapping paper the day after Christmas. I didn't have to buy wrapping paper for the next 3 years. My total savings was $75. By waiting it out I didn't have to spend any money on paper in subsequent years and I was able to apply my extra money to my vacation.
Money is one of the largest stress factors for the holidays. By using these tactics I've managed to give everyone a nice gift or two without breaking the bank. My family love their gifts and I feel good about the holidays.
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