With Christmas just a few weeks away, we have abruptly entered the “shopping season” that special time when you look at all the people on your Christmas list and compare them to the amount of money you have available. It’s time to create a budget and stick to it. The following ideas will help:
Comparison shop: Check prices at different stores, and don’t forget the online stores. Many online stores have great prices, but be sure to figure in any shipping costs in the total price of your gifts.
Making a list, checking it twice: Christmas shop in the same way that you grocery shop: create a list and stick to it. If you shop without a list it’s too easy to get caught up in the hype and you’ll buy items you hadn’t planned for compromising your budget. Download our handy holiday gift budget planner to help you get organized.
Plan a “homemade” Christmas: instead of buying the fancy cookies this year, buy the ingredients and make your own. Homemade goodies generally taste better and are less expensive than store-bought varieties. But, don’t stop with just baking. There are hundreds of things that you can make to give as gifts that won’t break your budget.
Time: Elderly persons would love to receive a gift card stating you will clean their house for them once a month (or once a week), while a young couple with children would consider free baby-sitting services for an evening (or weekend!) away, to be an extra special treat.
Bartering: Basically, you offer a product or service to someone who offers a product or service that a person on your gift list would enjoy. For example, your mother gets her hair done on a weekly basis. You could barter a certain number of up-do’s for a couple oil-changes.
With careful planning, you will be able to provide gifts for everyone on your list this year without breaking your budget.