Christmas season is one of the most expensive times of the year considering all the of the gifts that we are buying, the food and drinks and events we are attending and so on. In fact, Americans will spend more than $1 trillion on Christmas gifts alone with the average American spending approximately $1000 on gifts. This spending trend is going up each year with a lot of people actually going into debt to buy Christmas gifts! While this trend may support the many businesses marketing for our attention it does not always support our personal finances and overall goals.
I have come up with a list 5 different ways in which you can save some money during the holidays.
5 Ways to Save Money During the Holidays:
1. Agree to Invest.
Now this one may sound a bit odd but bear with me. We are often buying gifts for the many children in our lives, cousins, friends of the family, nieces, nephews and so on. Instead of buying them toys or presents why not instead invest in their education or savings for their future? Most average kids are getting tons of presents on Christmas. They will enjoy them for a week or two and then it will be forgotten. But what if instead, you take the same money that you would have spent on a gift and put it into an investment for them? In that case you are actually giving them a much more important gift, that of a great future. Plus, this initial investment will grow over time with the magic of compounding, so instead of actually spending money, the receiver is earning additional money overtime. All this, while you are actually reducing the expense load of the parents of the child. So why not propose to your loved ones to each invest in the children's futures so you can all benefit. Now that is what I call a gift that keeps on giving and a great way to save money is to invest it!
2. Buy in advance.
Instead of waiting until the month before Christmas to rush around and buy all the gifts, instead plan to buy throughout the year in preparation for Christmas. By slowly buying for your loved ones you can take advantage of the different sales and promotions throughout the year, plus, you don't have a huge expense burden all at once, you can spread it across the full year to avoid going into debt or running out of funds. Additionally, you are saving yourself the added stress of the crowds and trying to fit everything in at the last minute. Think of how great you would feel when November/December rolls around and you can say that you are already finished all your shopping and can instead focus on spending that time with your loved ones.
3. Make it a Potluck
There are many events during the holiday season in which you are expected to attend. Instead of going out to expensive restaurants or bars agree with your friends and family to get together at someone's house and make it a potluck where everyone brings a dish or a bottle of their favorite drink instead of forking out hundreds at a restaurant. This will save everyone a lot of money and honestly, you will probably enjoy the intimate setting a lot more and plus you get to try all the different recipes that everyone brought instead of the just the one dish that you would have ordered. In addition, you could save even more money by purchasing food in bulk and making prep ahead meals that you can also eat during your regular week at home and can easily be brought with you to a holiday get together. If you want some meal prep inspiration you can check out some of my other posts HERE.
4. Secret Santa.
The list of people that we feel we need to buy presents for can be very long, especially if you are coming from a large family. Instead of buy gifts for each and every person (gifts in most cases that don't need anyway) why not agree to host a Secret Santa instead. This is where all the adults put their name into a draw, whichever name you pull is the person that you will buy for and no one else. You agree on a spending limit to make things fair and then you buy for one person instead of everyone and everyone still gets a gift. Because you buy for far fewer people you could also agree to increase the spend limit so that each person receives a quality gift. To make things even easier everyone could make a Wishlist of the gifts that they would love at that price point ensuring that what they get is actually something that they want and will enjoy!
5. Homemade and/or No Gifts.
Taking the above point even further, you could agree with the adults in your group of loved ones that you will only exchange homemade gifts or no gifts at all. Let's face it, most of the adults in your life need little, or would buy for themselves what they need anyways. You could instead decide to focus on the children to make their Christmas magical and agree that the adults don't need anything further. Or you could all agree to save money and exchange something homemade instead. In a lot of cases a homemade gift, especially for adults, can be often be a more precious and thoughtful gift. So instead of that $50 bottle of wine or gift card you could give a photobook, baking, a personal video, a gift basket of different foods, jams, etc., or something handmade if your crafty. We shouldn't just buy gifts for the sake of it, or because we feel it's expected, and I am sure many of the others in your circle feel the same way and would be happy to reduce their expenses as well and instead focus on the time together instead of shopping.
I hope that you find the above ideas useful and that they help to alleviate some of your cash burden during the holiday season. Christmas is most certainly not meant to make your broke or drive you into debt and stress. I think that it is important that we come back to the basics and to the true meaning of Christmas which revolves around gratitude and enjoying the most precious gift of all…time with our loved ones.
I would love for you to share in the comments some of the ways that you save money during the holiday season that we can share with others inside of this community. Inexpensive but memorable gift ideas would also be greatly appreciated!
Happy holidays to you and your loved ones this holiday season! Make it one of love and togetherness!
Design Your Life ~ Be Authentic. Be You. Be Sharp.