Valuable tips on how to prevent breaking the bank when gift-gifting for the holiday. STOP while you’re ahead!
I stumbled on a post by Grace Mohr for Mackey Advisors outlining a list of valuable wallet-friendly tips for holiday spending (or lack thereof) to prevent breaking the bank:
- Put together a realistic budget. Yes, I said it, realistic. As limiting as this may seem, it is smart and will save you from headaches in the future. As my husband always says, ‘You can’t spend more money than you make.’ In fact, when assigning yourself a budget, it can be kind of fun for the hunt! This will create a challenge for you and help eliminate the stuff that really doesn’t matter (stuff you might otherwise be on the fence about).
- Cash in envelopes. Before your holidays shopping extravaganza, place money in individual envelopes for each person/family/couple/event or category you’re shopping for. Leave your credit cards at home! Afraid of carrying all that cash at once? Go in shifts to the bank; take out a portion of cash, shop, then go back for more cash. The envelope system will maintain organization, so it’s likely you won’t misplace any cash.
- Get organized. Grace recommends the app Wunderlist. Lists can even be shared with friends, family or whomever you choose!
- Greetings & cards. Instead of shopping for holiday cards, filling them out then mailing them, send e-cards or an e-mail letter to your loved ones. Last year, our office played around with JibJab; it is truly laugh out loud funny!
- Get crafty. Make your own wrapping paper (roll of butcher paper or brown packing paper) and/ or gift tags. This can be an especially fun and meaningful activity for kids. What’s cooler than homemade wrapping paper from the kiddos? Next, you can make gift tags from old holiday cards or holiday-themed scrapbook paper.
- Decoration swap. Get a group of family and friends together to swap Christmas décor. Pick out things you can live without and exchange with the group. Help out the wallet and cross holiday decorations right off your list!
- Secret Santa/ gift exchange. I don’t know about you, but when you have in-laws, children, nieces and nephews the list of family members increases exponentially! With 9 family members on one side and 7 on the other, it can get pricey shopping for 16 people. This is where gift exchanging comes in handy. Grouping gifts for couples will also help save some dollars.
- Save on gift cards. Buy (save up to 35%), sell (earn up to 97%) and trade gift cards at ABC Gift Cards.
- The golden rule of holidays. First and foremost, the top priority of any holiday season is spending time with family and friends as well as enjoying yourself. Gifts are secondary, if that.
For kicks, here are some more tips from Kamie Allen at Thought Catalog:
- Host a family game night. Play board games and listen to Christmas music. How often do families get together these days and enjoy a good ol’ fashioned board game?
- Host a Christmas potluck dinner. Everyone can bring a dish to share!
- Story time. Get together and share Christmas stories and get into the spirit of the season.
- Movie night. Grab a bunch of Christmas classics and lounge to your hearts desire!
- Get outside! Go for a nighttime walk to look at all of the holiday lights and outdoor decorations. Some cities and towns have displays that attract crowds every year. Do this in lieu of spending money eating out or going to the movies.
- Host a gingerbread house competition. Decorate houses or even bake cookies and desserts. These are always fun activities that are inexpensive. Use the products of your baking as gifts!
- Get crafty, again. As mentioned above, start crafting and make decorations, ornaments. Go a step further and make Christmas gifts. Pinterest has a plethora of inexpensive as well as DIY gift ideas. Check out our new board, ‘Prevent BREAKING THE BANK for holidays!
These tips and ideas can be applied to any holiday celebration. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all, curtail these to fit your family traditions. Above all, spending time with family and friends is the most important.
To add, holidays are heavy on gift giving, but some of these tips can be applied for other events as well such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, housewarming parties, religious gatherings/ celebrations, baby showers, etc… From here on, get to work, budget and get crafting!