How to Save Money on Holiday Gifts

Family shopping during the holidays

Family shopping during the holidays | FamVeld/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

The holidays are just around the corner. That means you’re probably gearing up to shop for holiday gifts. If your budget is tight, you might be stressed about the impact all that shopping will have on your wallet. Managing money during the holidays can be tough. Not to worry, we have you covered. Here are seven money-saving tips for the holidays.

1. Establish a gift budget

It’s easy to overspend on holiday gifts when you don’t have a budget in place. Set a dollar amount on the most you’ll spend and stick to it. If it helps, write down that dollar amount on a piece of paper (or text the amount to yourself), and look at that figure every so often while you’re shopping. This will help you stay focused on your spending goal.

2. Make a holiday shopping list

Before you step inside a store it’s best to have a list of what you want to buy. Without one, you could end up buying things you don’t need. Stay focused on what you came to purchase by listing the gifts you want to buy and the stores where you plan to make your purchases. A detailed list will prevent you from having to go back to the same store because you forgot something. A second trip could tempt you to buy something that wasn’t on your list, so anything you can do to make sure you only visit each store once is a win for your wallet.

3. Shop early

Don’t wait until the very last minute to purchase gifts. You’ll not only be overwhelmed but also lose track of what you want to buy. The holiday shopping rush can be disconcerting and stressful. When you shop early, you’ll be able to take advantage of pre-Christmas sales and have more control over the shopping process. Also, consider shopping for next year’s gifts during the post-Christmas sales.

4. Just say no to impulse purchases

Man and woman shopping at the mall

Man and woman shopping at the mall | GeorgeRudy/Getty Images

Just because you see something you like doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Resist the urge to buy things that aren’t on your list. It’s easy to go crazy in the mall during the holidays. Go into the store, buy what’s on your list, and go home.

5. Use cash

Instead of using your credit card to make purchases, pay for your presents in cash. When you use your credit card, you’ll be tempted to spend more, so cash will help keep you in line. If you don’t want to carry a lot of cash on you, go to one store on your list each day and only carry the amount you need to purchase gifts from that store.

6. Skip the gifts

Who says you have to buy presents this year? If you’re really strapped for cash, tell friends and family you won’t be handing out gifts. There are other ways you can show appreciation to your loved ones. If you’re a good cook, for example, make a holiday meal for the next family gathering. Think of creative ways to express gratitude.

7. Regift

Do you have a present someone gave you that you weren’t too crazy about? Why not regift? If the old present is in good condition and you know the recipient would love it, get out some wrapping paper and dress up that old gift. This way, you won’t waste precious space in your closet. Just make sure you don’t accidentally give the present back to the person who originally gave it to you.

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