Tips for Saving Money When Finding Christmas Gifts this Year
Giving gifts is an integral part of the Christmas season. While it is certainly nice to see your loved ones’ faces light up when they open the presents you have purchased for them, facing the credit card bills after months of Christmas shopping is less enjoyable.
Gift giving does not have to be financially painful. Use the following savings tips on your Christmas presents this year.
Set a budget, and stay within it. Before you even head out shopping, it is important that you write down exactly how much money you can afford to spend on each person on your list. Then, when you do begin shopping, look exclusively for gifts that fit into that budget.
Check the newspaper and mail ads. Newspapers are full of discount coupons during the holiday season, and you are likely to receive some coupons for local retailers in your mail, too. Don’t just toss these discounts in the trash. Look through them, and see if they apply to any items that would make good gifts for your friends.
Comparison shoponline and in local stores. While online retailers do often have excellent prices on video games, decorations, electronics and other popular gifts, you do usually have to pay a shipping fee. After taking this fee into account, it is something cheaper to buy these items from local retailers. Plus, by doing so, you support your local economy.
Use cash for Christmas shopping. It is harder to hand over your last dollar than to charge an extra item to your credit card. If you only take as much cash out of the bank as your Christmas shopping requires, and leave your credit card home, it is nearly impossible to go over your spending limit.
Keep an eye out for sales. Listen for television and radio ads for sales at local retailers. During the holiday season, stores often offer discounts on items that are popular Christmas gifts. Sales that offer 10, 15, or 20 percent off of items in certain categories are also common and can save you a pretty hefty sum if you purchase multiple gifts from that retailer.
Shoot for sentimental value over monetary value. Don’t give expensive gifts if you cannot afford them. Make it your goal to find gifts that mean something to your recipient, rather than ones that simply flaunt your buying power.
Plan ahead, and buy ahead. If you wait until the last minute to buy a gift, it is tempting to forgo comparison shopping and grab it at the first store. As the Christmas season begins, designate a calendar for gift planning purposes only. Write down the dates when you will see each relative or friend, and then designate time prior to the earliest of those occasions to complete the bulk of your Christmas shopping.
Leave the kids at home. If you can leave the kids with your spouse or a relative without having to pay for a sitter, do so. Kids tend to add gifts to your Christmas list when you let them tag along, and they distract you from the task at hand — saving money.
With a little planning, Christmas gifts do not have to put you into serious debt. With these tips, you can enjoy Christmas presents and still maintain control over your finances.