7 Simple Ways to Save Money for the Holidays

It is the last quarter of the year. Before you know it, the holidays have arrived and you are dealing with the pros and cons of holiday shopping. Make it easy on yourself this year and save money, time, and energy when preparing presents for the ones you love. Follow the seven tips below to save more and stress less for the holidays.

1. Set your holiday budget.
Instead of writing a list of people to buy for, come up with a budget and decide how much you can spend for presents. Do not just focus on the cost of presents – include extras like holiday party favors, decorations, and postage for Christmas cards, too.

2. Cut names from your list.
It sounds drastic, but this is an effective way to not start next year with a pile of debt. If you really must give to everyone on your list, cut the amount that you will spend on each present. Buy presents that you can afford to pay – in cash.

3. Use cash.
Speaking of cash, this is the smartest way to avoid going over budget. Before holiday shopping, withdraw your budget for presents and use that cash to make your purchases, knowing that once it is gone, you are done.

4. Add yourself to your shopping list.
Christmas is a stressful time of the year so make sure you treat yourself to something nice, too. Interestingly, people tend to buy stuff for others on an impulse, but think twice when it is for themselves.

5. Give yourself time to prepare.
You know it very well – last-minute prices tend to be steep. Whether you are shopping, baking, cooking, or wrapping presents, budget your time and prepare in advance. You will be surprised how much this saves you money.

6. Offer intangibles, too.
Presents that come in a pretty gift box are sure nice but intangibles count, too. Offer to baby-sit for a friend so they have more free time to attend Christmas parties. Walk the dog of your elderly neighbor. If you are baking cookies for your family, make extra and send it as presents. These ideas are economical but certainly valuable.

7. Look for meaning.
A thoughtful gift is often much appreciated. It is not always the cost of a present but the meaning attached to it. It shows that you truly made an effort and dedicated time to coming up with the best present that fits the personality and needs of your loved ones.

Ian Schindler