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I love, love, love the last three months of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas! Holidays are totally my jam. I love all the family gatherings, the food, the music, the fun– like I said, my jam. I am that person who puts their Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving and starts decorating with Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas” playing at unholy levels.
While this time of the year gives me all the warm and fuzzies, it has the potential to give my budget fits! I do have sinking fund set up for holiday spending, however, I am, at heart, a frugal mama and I don’t want to be frivolous with my money.
I WANT ALL THE DEALS! All of them!
If you are looking for the best way to stretch your dollar too, read on!
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Christmas Savings Plan
Christmas Shopping on a Budget in 4 Simple Steps
I love the process of thinking of each member of my family and finding them something I know they will love. My love language is more of a do-er/ show-er so this is my comfort zone.
Write someone a meaningful letter or actually verbalize my feelings?? I’d rather get a root canal!
But, I digress. My favorite tips for Christmas shopping on a budget.
Step One: Set spending limit.
How much have you set aside and what is the limit for each gift. Know that before you start spending anything.
Step Two: Just like Santa– make a list.
Much like grocery shopping. When you are in a store meandering around aimlessly, you can and will find yourself buying a whole bunch of stuff you don’t need.
Keep your shopping on point by knowing ahead of time what you are planning on purchasing.
If you are in need of inspiration– fine. Make a trip to brainstorm ideas, but with the understanding, you aren’t purchasing anything. Keep your impulse purchases in check ya’ll!
Step Three: Online vs. In-Store Shopping
I have found over and over again, that I can often get things cheaper online than in-store. Granted, there are exceptions, but typically this has held true.
Plus, you have the added bonus of skipping holiday traffic. Amiright?!
Compare the two and see where you’ll be saving the most money. BUT before your purchase, consider step four!
Step Four: Check for even more online savings.
Save yourself even more money by utilizing websites like Honey, Ebates, and Retail Me Not.
- Honey. Helps you find the best price on Amazon. It shows you available coupons for the website you are shopping on. It’s as easy as clicking “apply coupons” button on your taskbar (You have to install Honey plugin on your computer).Bonus! When Honey makes a commission from the sale of an item, they split it with you, it’s called “Honey Gold”. Once you receive a certain level of “honey gold” you can redeem for gift cards to a variety of vendors (Target, Amazon, etc.).
- Ebates. Want to earn cash back for shopping online buying things that you would have purchased anyway? Then this is for you. Ebates is huge. You get a certain percentage (it’s different with each vendor) and once a month you’ll get the cash back on the purchases you made. You can use this for booking hotels, airfare, buying clothes, toiletries, groceries, etc. Who doesn’t love free money!! You can join for free and with my referral link, you get $10 after your first purchase of $25 or more!
- RetailMeNot. Download the plugin or search through their website and find coupons and promo codes to help save you money.
Bonus Tip: SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS! Do yourself a huge favor and get an envelope. Write “Holiday Receipts” on it and put it in your purse, backpack, pack mule, whatever.
You need these for returns, exchanges and to keep track of your spending. So make a plan to get ahead and keep organized!
Christmas Saving Tips
More ways to save money:
- Combine orders to save on shipping. The beautiful thing about having your list is you know everything you need to get ahead of time and can plan accordingly. Do yourself a favor and save on shipping by combining into as few shipments as possible.
- Check for Price Adjustments. If you purchase an item and a few days later it’s being sold for a cheaper price. Don’t be shy about asking for a price adjustment!
- Shop alone and with a time limit. Get in and get out. The less time you are spending in a store, the less time to find other things you “need”. Move with a purpose, ya’ll!
- Consider joint gifts. My sister desperately needed a new stroller for her kids so my mother, myself and brothers all chipped in together for it. The flip side would be to buy ONE gift that many could enjoy– like buying a hammock for my parents. One gift that they both enjoy and to this day use like crazy!
- Christmas Cards. If you don’t already give Christmas cards, consider starting them in lieu of giving gifts. They are definitely cheaper and can be mass produced while still letting people know you are thinking of them during the Holidays. Side Note: One of my favorite things I get from a few of my friends is their end of the year in review Christmas card + letter. Particularly for people, we don’t see often. I love seeing what they’ve been up to all year! Such a cute idea!
- Give the gift of time. Instead of giving some “thing”, consider giving the gift of time. Babysitting for friends/family. My sister is crazy crafty and paints for me. I give her the canvas, she already has paints and voila a gift that I love and costs her nada! Win- win.
- Stop shopping for yourself during the holiday months. Do your spouse, significant other, family member, bestie, etc a favor and give them a chance to get you something you really want. In our family, we have been using Elfster for a number of years and we will never go back! You can save links to things you want all year (for your birthday or Christmas) and then your family gets to shop your list. Amazing and no more returns!!
- Shop discount stores. TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, etc. You can find some amazing deals and gifts super cheap!
I’d love to hear how you guys save money during the holidays! Comment below with your tips and tricks.