Christmas is about spending quality time with family and friends. It’s not all about getting and giving gifts. I know this… but getting and giving gifts is just so damn enjoyable! Do you love buying presents as much as I do? Good news: You don’t have to go into debt when shopping for Christmas presents. It’s totally possible to shop for Christmas on a budget while still finding great gifts for everyone on your list.
Here are a few simple things you can do if you’re trying to shop for Christmas on a budget this year.
1. Set A Christmas Shopping Budget
I know this seems super obvious, but it’s the most important step. If you’re trying to shop for Christmas on a budget, you need a budget to stick to.
One of the easiest ways to decide on your budget is by calculating the total amount of money you’re willing to spend. Then, divide the amount by the number of people you want to buy Christmas gifts for. This will give you the total amount you can afford to spend on each person on your list.
Wanting to purchase multiple gifts for one person? Your total spending amount needs to stay under that predetermined number.
You can really take your total budget amount and divide it any way that works for you and your lifestyle (ex. $75 for your parents, $50 for your partner, etc.). This budget is going to look different for everyone. Try not to get caught up in the comparison game.
2. Make A Christmas Shopping List
Then check it twice… to make sure that you budget for what you plan to buy and that you actually want to buy a present for everyone on your list.
One of the worst things you can do if you're trying to stick to a Christmas budget is going into a store to shop for gifts without a list. You absolutely need a list if you truly want to stick to your budget. Without one, you’re more likely to get swept up in spending more than you want to. You also run the risk of buying small extra items that will put you over-budget.
I tend to get wrapped up in the Christmas spirit, and it makes me want to buy a personalized gift for everyone I’ve ever met. The neighbor two blocks down from me, my co-worker’s mom, my husband’s old high school teachers, and the list goes on. There’s nothing wrong with playing Santa.
You need to make sure you aren’t trying to spend money on a gift for everyone you know, though. If you still want to get something for distant relatives or acquaintances you don’t know very well, there are tons of ways you can spread joy this holiday season without breaking the bank.
3. Keep An Eye Out For Deals And Coupons
I know most of my friends and family members are sticking to online shopping this year. That makes it easier than ever to take advantage of coupons and deals. There are several browser extensions out there that will automatically check for coupon codes when you go to check out online. Honey is my favorite. I’m confident that I’ve saved at least $100 over the past six months just by using Honey to check for online coupon codes.
If you’re shopping in person, you should still check for coupons and deals before you head into the store. I know stores like Ulta, Hobby Lobby, and Kohl’s always have coupons on their websites that you can use in-store.
4. Don’t Forget About Extra Christmas Expenses
Depending on the size of your gifts, where you’re sending them, and a ton of other variables, you might need to set part of your Christmas budget aside for extra gift-related expenses. This includes stamps, shipping labels, gift bags, wrapping paper, stocking stuffers, and anything else you need to get your gifts ready for giving.
Trying to stick to a strict budget for everything Christmas-related this year? Make sure you factor in things like decorations, food, and drinks.
5. Use A Budget Tracker
You need to keep an eye on your finances and keep yourself accountable once you start your Christmas shopping. There are tons of apps out there, like Truebill, that will connect to your bank accounts and track your spending. Truebill is particularly helpful because it allows you to set savings goals, negotiate lower bill payments, and manage your monthly subscriptions.
No matter which budget tracker you choose to use, make sure you’re checking it often during the Christmas shopping season. Regularly checking up on your bank account balance will help you stick to your established Christmas budget. It'll also help you scale back if you’re spending a little bit too much.
6. Get Your DIY On
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a handmade gift. This might be an especially appealing idea if there’s a creative skill you’re good at. Think calligraphy, baking, knitting, etc. You can usually buy craft supplies in bulk at a bit of a discount. Then, you can spend some time creating customized gifts for the special people in your life.
Even if you aren’t artistically inclined, you can still handmake your Christmas gifts. In almost all cases, it’s the thought behind the gift that counts. Your grandma is going to love your painting that looks a little bit like a carrot but is supposed to be a horse. I promise.
7. Keep Future You In Mind
Future you will be so proud of present (pun intended) you if you stick to your Christmas budget. Future you will be so relieved that you don't have to figure out how to pay mounds of Christmas debt. If you’re tempted to overspend now, just think about how you’ll feel about your decisions when Christmas is over.
It’s almost like going out for a night of fun and waking up with a hangover. You might feel excited and confident about spending tons of money on Christmas gifts now, but you’re really going to regret it come January.
Conclusion: As Long as You Plan For It, You Can Successfully Shop For Christmas On A Budget
Like most things in life, shopping for Christmas on a budget is doable as long as you come up with a plan and stick to it. If you stick to your budget, you’ll be able to relax on Christmas Eve knowing you didn’t break the bank when shopping for gifts.
Bonus: You’ll have enough money to take you through to January, which is a great way to start the year off on the right foot!