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Ah, September! The Pumpkin Spice lattes are out at Starbucks (I think. I’ve hear rumors, I don’t drink coffee.) and there’s finally a cool breeze outside! Which means that Christmas is right around the corner! Christmas is usually a terrible time for my wallet because I’m normally terrible at planning. But, if you’re like me, there are ways to save for Christmas and make this year a little easier on your wallet!
Save a budgeted amount each month
You know Christmas is going to come around December 25th of every year like clock work, so budget for it! If you set aside $50/month for a year you’d have $600 to buy everyone’s Christmas gifts. That’s not bad!
Buy for couples, not individuals
This, obviously, won’t apply to everyone but instead of buying a gift for individuals in a couple, why not buy one larger gift for the couple? Chances are, it’s something they’ll use more and it’ll be a better buy for you!
Don’t wait until December
Don’t do last minute shopping!! Here’s a list from Consumer reports of the best times to buy different products. If you buy throughout the year you’ll get a better buy overall and are also able to hit up various sales.
You don’t have to be super creative to go this route, there are all sorts of projects you can make – homemade lotions, scrubs, etc… or if you’re good at sewing you can make bags or throw pillows! If you think you really can’t DIY that’s no excuse! Etsy has all sorts of DIY kits available for purchase! There’s everything from DIY terrarium kits to calligraphy!
Don’t forget about Ebates! If you’re going to be buying items online you really need to be using Ebates because they give you cash back on purchases! It totally depends on what website you buy from, but I’ve seen discounts from 1% – 15%. That can add up! Before I went on my last two trips, I reserved my airport parking online and used Ebates when I prepaid. I’ll be getting $8.40 back just for clicking my Ebates button! That’s like a free day! Plus, if you use my affiliate link you’ll get a free $10 back after your first qualifying purchase of $25 or more. What’s not to love about free money?!
Bed Bath and Beyond
Most people know that Bed Bath and Beyond coupons don’t really expire, but did you know that if you forget your coupon you can bring in your receipt whenever you find a coupon and they’ll give you cash back? And you can use a coupon on every single item that you have! If you need extra, let me know because I have a ton haha! Plus, they have a lot of items online that they might not have in store, but if you go to the store and ask them to order it for you you don’t pay shipping! The more you know!
3 Gift Rule
This is a trend I recently heard of, but I’m sure it’s been around for a while! If you have children it can be incredibly easy to go overboard on Christmas shopping! Instead, stick to the 3 gift rule – something they need, something to read, and something they want.
Reason for the Season
Don’t forget the reason for the season! It’s not buying a bunch of gifts, it’s being with friends and family and sharing your blessings with others. If you focus on this and tell your family your financial goals you’ll make life so much easier for yourself! Don’t give into the pressure of having to buy everyone 10 different gifts and going overboard!
Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that keep giving, like memberships to museums or zoos. It won’t take up space in the recipient’s house and you might get a free trip to the zoo within the year! That’s a win win!
It can be incredibly distracting to go out at Christmas time and buy a lot of unnecessary junk. Make a shopping list before you go and stick to it! Try to not buy yourself anything if you can too, remember, you’re on someone’s Christmas list and maybe they already bought it for you or will give you the money to buy it!
Speaking of money, if you’re buying gift cards go to http://www.giftcardmall.com or http://www.giftcardgranny.com! They sell gift cards at a discount, and Gift Card Mall gives you an additional 1% back if you use Ebates! That’s savings on top of savings!
I love Swagbucks! Know why? They give you a ton of different options to earn money and they have some pretty sweet cash back options! You can use them as a search engine and receive anywhere from 4-25 points when you search! You can do anything from donate your points to a charity, cash in for a PayPal gift card, or even (this is what I’m saving for) a Southwest gift card!! How awesome is that?! Free flights!!
Pro tip: If you subscribe to my newsletter I’ll send you a super awesome Excel sheet with the formulas already plugged in so you can easily track your saving over the year! What are some ways you prepare for the inevitable spendapoolza at Christmas? Have you tried giving less gifts in your family? How has it worked?
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash