1. Make a list, and narrow it down. Who do you have to buy presents for? Make a list, because without it you will have a hard time creating a budget (see next item). Only put the essential people on it. Now see if you can narrow it down a bit. The surest way to have an expensive Christmas is to have a list that's too long.
2. Set a budget, and
stick to it. How much can you afford to spend on Christmas this year,
realistically? Don't put your Christmas shopping on your credit card if
possible — just spend what you can find within your regular budget or in
savings (though it's not a good idea to deplete your savings just for
gifts). Once you have a total amount, decide how you'll split it among
people on your list. If the budget isn't big enough for the list, see
some of the ideas below. The key, of course, is not just setting the
budget, but remembering your limits (take your list with you as you
shop) and doing your best not to go over the limit you set for each
person on your list.
3. Do a gift exchange. This can drastically
reduce costs, especially if you have a large family or group of friends
or coworkers. Instead of buying something for everyone, you just have to
buy one gift.
4. Make your own gifts: bake something wonderful;
make picture frames, knitted scarves, a digital photo slideshow, a
bookshelf, anything you can learn to make.
5. Buy used if you
can. This may seem tacky to some, but really, you can get some amazing
used stuff that in some cases are as good as or better than new items.
Focus on vintage stuff, like out-of-print books or an antique knick
knack. In any case, it's worth a look.
6. Just buy
for kids. Christmas gifts are really the most fun for kids. While adults love getting gifts, of course, it's not as
Important to them. Instead, just buy gifts for the kids on your list.
7. Wrap with magazines or newspapers. Save money on expensive Christmas gift wrapping,
and use old magazines or newspapers to wrap your presents. It's free
(you already have the magazines), it's recycling, and it can cool.
Give homemade coupons. This is one of my favorite gifts, because it
costs nothing but it shows you care. You can give people coupons
promising that you'll wash their car, baby-sit, give them a massage,
clean their rain gutters, or whatever you can do that they would like.
9. Freebies. It doesn't get any cheaper than free. Be sure to check The Bargainist (www.bargainist.com) for totally free items and free after rebate items. If you have a lot of people in your
life to buy for, you may be able to stock up on a bunch of the same item without spending a dime.
Give your “Favorite Things”. Try giving inexpensive items that you
love and use everyday, not only will the gift be more meaningful, but
the recipient will think of you whenever he/she uses the gift. By giving
a gift with meaning, you deemphasize how much the item cost. Last year,
a friend gave me a little packet of some of her favorite things that
included her favorite gum, mints, and beverage. I loved that she shared
those things with me and I could have cared less how much she spent.
Buy gifts for birthdays and Christmas throughout the year. This is an
easy way to save time and money! Instead of waiting for holidays, buy
gifts whenever you see what you think a friend or relative will enjoy.
Place the gifts in boxes and mark the outside of the box and just keep
adding all year round. When birthdays and holidays
roll around, you are always prepared.
12. Neighbor Decoration
Swap. Find a friend or neighbor who is willing to swap any unwanted
decorations with you. The decorations will be new to the other person
and it will save going out and buying something new just because you are
tired of your old stuff.
13. Send email Christmas greetings instead of Christmas Cards. You’ll save on the expense of card and of postage
Look up the FREE holiday activities in your community. There are
thousands of pageants and other entertainment in churches all over the
US. All you have to do is find them. Check your local newspaper. Watch
the local TV networks.
19. Share movies and music with friends
and family. Borrow Christmas movies from your friends and family. They
will be glad to lend them to you, especially if you have something they
want to watch. This will be better than going to a video store. You
won’t have any late
20. Bring home a basket full of Christmas books, music
and videos from the Library. They have a wonderful selection you can
borrow from for FREE.
21. Instead of buying an extravagant gift
for your spouse, how about going in on a gift for the house instead that
will benefit you both?
22. Recycle cards. Save your old cards,
cut out the images and recycle into new cards. Or you can back the
images with tagboard, add a string, and make tree decorations.
Let nature decorate for you. Natural branches, leaves, holly, or
flowers bring the outside in. Decorate with a little glitter and a few
ribbons or use those old strings of lights. Pine and holly boughs look
great and with a few cinnamon sticks give your house that holiday smell.
24. Shop online on . Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is the Internet version of Black Friday.
Hundreds of stores offer discounts that are only made
available to online shoppers. While the deals on Cyber Monday aren't as
good as they were when the concept was new, shoppers can still save
money. Many stores offer free shipping on Cyber Monday, as well.
Go on store websites a week before Black Friday and search for coupons.
Everybody knows you can get coupons in the paper on Thanksgiving. But
department and electronic stores will have similar and sometimes better
coupons that can be printed from their official website. You can usually
use these deals for online shopping, as well.
26. Give Together.
If there is an expensive item that you really want to give to someone,
consider splitting the cost with a friend or relative. Your recipient
will still get to receive the gift, but you won’t have to foot the
entire bill yourself.
offers coupon codes that can be used when shopping online. The site
gives you a wide variety of coupon codes for each retailer
listed on the site. There are a number of sites that offer coupons,
take a look to find the sites offering coupons for the stores you shop