During the holiday season, it’s easy to spend more than you intended, especially if you don’t do some planning ahead of time. That’s why you need to create a budget to monitor your spending. It’s never too early to start setting aside money for gifts so you can still get something for each person on the list.
Create a Gift Budget
An important part of saving money during the holidays is to create a budget. Incorporate that into your budget so you can begin setting aside funds throughout the year. This means you’ll need to create a budget for each person you’re giving to. Budgeting might not be fun but think of it as a way to exercise your creativity. What other areas can you cut back in so you can put more toward presents? For example, if you have student loans, consider consolidating them to combine multiple loans into a single one. Do your research on your options. If you have federal student loans from the U.S. Department of Education, look into getting a Direct Consolidation Loan. Or you can get student loan refinancing from a private lender to try to reduce your rates. This is just one area you can save in. But you can also try to keep your holiday budget low to begin with. Try a few strategies to stick to the budget:
- If you have a larger family, ask if everyone can stick to lower spending limits
- Set money aside each month
- Purchase items throughout the year
Start Planning the Gift List
Another way to save money during the holidays is to do some planning. Shopping doesn’t have to start a month before Christmas. For example, if you take a vacation earlier in the year, that might be a good time to find some unique gifts for family and friends. And you might get some good deals on holidays such as Cyber Monday or Labor Day. No matter when you start shopping, start a list of what you’ve bought for each person and what you still need to get for them. For example, you don’t want to purchase several similar gifts for one person and nothing for someone else. If you’re looking for a certain item, shop around to find the best price. When you have a running list, you can look for the best prices on certain items. That allows you to keep track of who you have gotten presents for already. You can start the list on a digital spreadsheet or write it on paper.
Encourage a Gift Exchange
If a big group, such as an office or a large extended family, is exchanging presents, look into doing a gift exchange. Each person will draw a name, and that’s the one person they have to shop for. This saves money, and it allows you to get nicer gifts instead of purchasing less meaningful ones. Even though each person gets a better gift, you still likely won’t spend as much as if you tried to get something for each person.