‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? Well, for some people, ’tis the season to go broke, drive up the credit card debt, and have to dip into savings. Here are ten ways to save yourself from plundering into financial unknown at the most wonderful time of the year.
Many years ago, our family decided the adult children would stop buying gifts for each other. We have a large family and it was becoming financially difficult for most of us to keep buying. We adopted the motto, “Christmas gifts are for the kids.” We buy for the children and our parents. This allowed us to focus on the kiddos, food, and holiday spirit.
2. Mindset Change
This one is tough for many, but Christmas is not about buying gifts and breaking the bank. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebration of family, friends, neighbors, and giving love, joy, and a small token gift like the wise men gave at the birth of Jesus.
Our media and culture has taken Christmas and turned it into, “cash in their pockets,” with no mention of Jesus, Love, Joy, or Family. They simply want you to break the bank, spend that Christmas bonus, and buy the “hottest new toys, electronics, expensive clothing, gift wrap, and all that goes with it.”
It is time to break the cycle! Look at consumerism as the anti-Christmas. Think of frugality, homemade gifts, and time spent with family and loved ones as Christmas.
3. Shop Smart (and early!!)
I always joke, Christmas shopping for me starts on January 1st! It is true. The stores are clearing out merchandise at a super fast (and cheap) rate right after the holiday. Throughout the year, toy stores and big chains run huge clearances on items. Here is my method for gift clearance shopping throughout the year.
- Right after Christmas – stock up on tissue paper, wrapping paper, ribbon, Christmas ornaments, and any other holiday items needed.
- Right after Christmas – head to the toy store and grab some clearance items for next year, for birthdays, and some general gifts to put in our gift bin. This is a great time to stock up on stocking stuffers for the next year.
- Each month – stash away some cash in an envelope for Christmas and birthdays. When I know a store is running a clearance sale, I dip into the fund.
- Christmas in July – July seems to be the month for moving in new toys and items in preparation for the upcoming holiday season (they begin early) so many stores have large clearance sales in July. I was able to buy pricey, name brand toys for $4 and under at Toys R Us this summer!
- Cyber Monday – for the past few years, I have gotten some amazing deals on Amazon and other websites. This is especially good for big items. Last year my husband bought me a Kindle Fire on Amazon at a big discount. I typically buy my husband three or four Xbox games at around 60% or more.
- Avoid Black Friday like the Black Plague! Many people LOVE the game that is Black Friday, if you do; go for it! I find it too stressful and the sales are not there.
4. Start a Tradition
Make a change and suggest to your family a new tradition, such as everyone receives a handmade gift, start a caroling group, meet up at the local food pantry and give your time, or throw a Christmas potluck gathering. That options are endless. This year we all decided our children receive too many gifts. We are going to set up a simple name drawing system for our children. They will each pick the name of a cousin and buy a very special gift. Our hopes is to downsize the amount of gifts they receive, teach them to give, and maybe give them a lesson on spending. 🙂
This one is important. Stress causes us to react and a knee-jerk reaction while in a store full of grumpy people at Christmas time, can cost a lot of money. Try to avoid shopping when the stress meter is high. If the holidays are causing you a lot of stress and a lack of joy, simply take a break and find where the stress is coming from. Once determined, address the issue.
It is my hope some of the above suggestions save you some hard-earned cash at Christmas time. It is most important to enjoy the holiday season without the worry of debt and draining the bank account.
What are some of your saving methods at Christmas?
The Joyful Homemaker