The holiday season can be a stressful time as everyone shops for gifts and prepares for holiday entertaining and parties. What to wear… what gifts to buy and how to fit it all into the budget. I’ve put together a few tips to help reduce the financial bite of the holidays.
1) Set a budget and stick to it. By shopping early you can avoid those last minute “just get it done” impulse moments where you spend way more than you planned.
If you are one of those people that still haven’t paid off the holiday gifts you put on your credit card last year. Go back and add up all the interest you paid on those gifts. This will help you stick with your budget for this year. In January, I would also encourage you to start setting aside a little bit of money each month to help with the cost of next year’s holiday season. Having a pot of money saved really helps to make holiday shopping more fun!
2) Trim back the number of people you shop for. As we get older, the focus shifts away from gifts and becomes more about who and how you celebrate the holiday season. Put time and effort into planning special times with the people you care about.
3) Look for experiential gifts that you might be able to share with the recipient after all the holiday fuss has passed. Theatre or museum passes, day trips or meals out. Or even coupons for hugs, a nature walk or a trip for ice cream. Think about the person you’re buying for, if they are someone that values spending quality time together, then a gift for a shared experience will be well received.
4) It’s easy to spend a lot of money on holiday gift wrap and bows, which often ends up in the garbage. Think about our environment and your wallet and opt for sustainable or recyclable wrapping options. Collect comic strips, newsprint, or bags that can be decorate with stamps or holiday decorations. You can also try wrapping gifts in tea towels or blankets. This will get your creative juices flowing and help to keep festive holiday papers out of our landfill.
5) My favourite tip for saving money this Holiday season is to make homemade gifts. This will show the recipient how much you truly care and it takes the focus away from how much you spent.
Start early and work your magic. I have always enjoyed creating memorable gifts for my family members. But they don’t happen over night. They take time to plan and create but they are often the gifts that are most memorable and will be treasured long after other gifts have been discarded. Some example of things I have created over the years include:
· Scrapbook of photos and memories of growing up with my three sisters. I was able to have multiple colour copies made so we each had a book to enjoy.
· Homemade jams and cookies
· Tole painted signs and ornaments
· Original paintings on canvas
· Hand written book for my daughter filled with all kinds of motherly love, photos, letters and advice. This has become one of her most treasured possessions. I continue to take the time to add new messages and photos to it each year and place it under the tree.
Even if you are not super crafty, there is some special talent or gift you can share with loved ones. Maybe you can write poetry, make a mean lasagna or provide babysitting services. There are so many ways that we can think outside the box and share love without breaking the bank.
I hope these suggestions inspire you and help you avoid a major holiday financial hangover in January. All the best as you find creative ways to celebrate the holidays this season.
What homemade holiday gifts have you made?
Do you have suggestions for other ways to save money this year?