It may seem a little early to discuss saving money for Christmas. I mean we have not even made it to Thanksgiving yet! However, that is the biggest secret to saving during Christmas, planning ahead. It is easy for me to start planning ahead because I begin seeing Christmas stuff in stores by the end of September in the south. When I see the first cheesy Santa or hear a Christmas song I know it is time to get to jingling.
I would like to recommend getting a notebook or digital download to come up with a plan of Christmas attack. One of my favorite YouTubers, Kristen, at The Gold Project sell a Christmas Printable Bundle in her Etsy shop. She has been working on her organization projects for years and offers wonderful advice.
So once I come up with a plan of gift buying, I put that plan into action.
Buy Everything Before Black Friday
This is important so I will say it again. Buy all gifts before the Black Friday sales. This helps me avoid impulse buying at the last minute. It also allows me time to research and cost compare. Use that handy list you already made to shop online, outlet, or what every else is your preference.
For all my nieces and nephews I order a set of age appropriate books from Book Outlet during their Octoberfest Sale. It is a way to share something I love with them every holiday.
Have an Honest Conversation with Your Partner
When I left my teaching job in 2017 and then returned from Vietnam. I knew that I could not return to teaching public school after a brief stint in a different school district. However, my bills had not changed and they still needed paid. That Christmas I began my VIPKid interview process in order to become an online ESL teacher. Ed and I had some real talk. We decided to only fill a stocking for each other that Christmas.
Guess what, it was still an amazing holiday. I still enjoyed cute pictures with hedgehogs and time with friends. Since then, we have placed a price limit or other parameters on Christmas gift giving. Maybe you would rather put your money together for a couples retreat or find something that is memorable over expensive. Just make sure you are both on board with the plan.
While You Are At It, Have a Conversation With Your Friends Too
My favorite people to buy gifts for are my best friends. I enjoy finding the perfect gift, and it is easy because I know them so well. If you are blessed with a big group of friends, holiday shopping can become expensive. I recommend focusing on spending time together over gift giving. My post about hosting a Friendmas is a good example.
So my best friend and I usually have a price cap. If you would like to do gifts with a tight knit group, I recommend drawing names or hosting a Dirty Santa gift exchange. Elfster is a great resource for Secret Santa groups and even allows the participants to upload wish lists. It will send electronic reminders as well.
Gift Giving and Your Kids
Since I do not have children, I will just add a little Pinterest wisdom I saw. These adorable letters to Santa are circulating all over the website. It is a set of categories to list one item each. The categories are something I need, wear, read, and really want.
I also love other Pinterest ideas of practical gifts like a new Christmas book or pajamas. Also, consider that a little of money put away can grow greatly with interest that builds up from a young age. Talk to your local financial advisor for more information for investments for youngsters.
Make Your Own Gifts and Card
Not much to be said here, but there are plenty of tutorials out there. Take care to price compare because sometimes the material can be costlier than buying the item somewhere else.
You can also purchase digital downloads to make your own Christmas cards and have them printed locally. My friend Lisa has a great article about things you can make with your die cut machine as well!
Your Freezer is Your Miracle on the Dinner Table
See a turkey on sale for a penny a pound? Score some beautiful cranberries at the farmer’s market? How about freezing them and saving them for your Christmas feast? Take care to mark the dates and amounts on the bag. I like buying chocolate chips for cookies ridiculously cheap at Big Lots and freezing them for cookie swaps.
If you don’t have room in your freezer call your mama, grandma, or great uncle Bob to see if they have room for you store items for the holidays. What else is family for?
Wrap It and Put a Bow on It
If you give me a gift in a bag, and do not write my name on the tag, I will reuse it. (Most of the time I will reuse it any way and just tear off the tag.) Due to this, I have not had to buy bags for Christmas gifts in years. Also not above me, reusing ribbon or cute bows from previous gifts.
Also, brown paper on a roll can be painted, embellished, and even hand lettered to create beautiful gift packages. Although, I still prefer to buy wrapping paper at after Christmas sales.
Beware of the After Christmas Sales
Speaking of after Christmas sales, I went crazy over after Christmas sales my first few years after buying our house. It was exciting to buy all these cute things at half off. Then I would stow them away in the attic to forget about them until the following holiday season. Now I shop with a more money conscious mindset. I will only purchase things I’m running out of or really love.
As of this Christmas season, I have managed to talk myself out of redoing all of my decorations. I am bound to lose this internal debate sooner or later. This year may just be the year I lose!
The Final Noel
Take some time to think about the advice here. Consider your budget, your families traditions, and your expectations for the holiday season. This is just a quick tour into my brain and process for planning the holiday. Now get a notebook and find yours!
What is your favorite money saving tip for the holidays?