Tis the season for pumpkin spice everything, crowded malls and holiday themed Blogs. Unfortunately, tis ALSO the season for over spending, credit card bills and a tiny bit of your soul being crushed because of it.
You’d think I would have learned over the years but honestly, I totally didn’t; not until last year. Last year I had enough and I made a plan. Having a daughter with a birthday in December (ya, apparently I could NEVER make a solid plan) makes it tough to not over spend that month. I had to think of a way to get everyone crossed off on my Christmas list, give a satisfying gift but also not put me on the naughty list with my accountant (or my husband- just sayin’).
I had to get creative, organized and have patience. GOOD LUCK. On a good day I have exactly zero of those things. So I had to shake it off and make a plan! Here is what I came up with. Give it a try and hopefully you will have the same results as I did!
Here are some tips to help you save some mula while crossing off your Christmas gift list:
First things first. Before I say this, I want you to know that I love you and I am not trying to torture you by making this suggestion. I am only trying to help. So here it goes: Don’t do your shopping online. Or at least not all of it. If you shop online, that means you have access to credit cards and that means OVER SPENDING without really seeing how much you are actually spending overall. $20 here and $50 there at different stores with different transactions can really add up without you even realizing it! Take one for the team this year and store shop!
Bring cash only. You don’t have to necessarily leave your plastic at home, but throw it in the dash of your car, take a trip to the ATM and take out what you’ve budgeted, with $50 extra just encase. This will make you think twice about buying extra for a person because you feel like you haven’t gotten them enough (you have, by the way!) and make you less likely to overspend since you don’t have easy access to the credit card.
Make a list and stick to it. Most of us do this, which is great, but a lot of people just show up and cash out! Making a solid list of people you need to buy for along with a gift idea is a huge help! If you make a list of people and what you want to buy for them, it leaves less chance of buying more than what you planned on getting for that person and it also makes it less stressful when you are out there in crowds trying to find something that a specific person might like.
Window Shop online first. If you would rather go out to stores and shop to get the “full experience”, try scoping out the gift ideas online first. This gives you an idea of exactly which stores to go to to get the perfect gift, and it also helps you make a budget for yourself because you can see how much the items cost.
Save your points. For example, I have a President’s Choice card with Superstore and I make a point to get gas there and collect all of my grocery points. I save them until around November when I cash them in and either get a large grocery order for cheap or FREE or some stocking stuffer gifts with the points. It’s a great feeling to get essentially free things!
Browse your flyers before you shop. If you have something in mind for someone, check your local flyers. It might be on sale someplace and you can save a few bucks!
Make something homemade for unexpected visitors who bring gifts. Keep some Christmas cards on hand and if you like to bake, freeze some goodies in a cute cellophane bag or Christmas Can that you can pop out for people. Don’t pay $25 for a can of Quality Street Chocolates (even though they are effing yummy) when you can spend a fraction of that on baking cookies yourself that were made with love!
Shop local. This will save gas money, meal money, shipping fees and it will make you all warm and tingly inside knowing that you are supporting a local entrepreneur.
Lastly, there is always that one person who you get a gift for, but want to add a little something to it to make it perfect. Whether it’s for a kid, a neighbor, a teacher or your mail lady, may I suggest:
Throw 8 whoppers in a baggy (for the 8 reindeer) along with a red gumball (Rudolph’s nose, of course), write “Reindeer Noses” on a tag and you have a cute treat to add to someone’s gift or a great stocking stuffer idea!
Green sprinkles in a baggy with a cute story on it make a fun Christmas Eve tradition and are a great accessory to any child’s gift.
Magic Reindeer Food:
Some oats and sunflower seeds in a baggy with a cute story on a homemade tag are another great Christmas Eve tradition and something to complete a gift.
(or check out LN Graphic Design on Facebook www.facebook.com/lngraphicdesign1 and have them professionally made for you- I had to hehe )
So do you think you might be able to make it through the holidays now without drowning in stress and debt? I would be happy with “I will give it a solid try, Mal” because I know nobody is perfect.