Wasn’t it just yesterday that I took down the Christmas decorations from our house?
Well, juuust in case you missed it, it’s almost the end of September. Are you ready to spend a lot of money on gifts?
If you don’t want to go broke buying gifts and presents, you need to start preparing right now. And we are here to help you. There are 10 things you should do right now to save on Christmas gifts.
10. Make a list of gifts and giftees NOW.
This is the oldest trick in the book. By this time, you should have a list of your giftees and your gift ideas for each of them. You may have more than one gift idea for each person (I personally have 3 choices for each giftee), which is ideal to give yourself bigger elbow room when shopping.
We have 100 gifts under $10 here just in case you need help.
9. Know exactly how much you’re willing to spend on each gift.
Your Christmas list should have three columns: your giftees, your gift ideas, and your budget for each gift. This is very important in helping you understand how much you will be spending for Christmas shopping. Never be caught unprepared! Also, feel free to adjust your budget to prevent yourself from spending beyond your means.
8. Do your research. Look for upcoming sales, bazaars, and garage sales.
You don’t have to do your shopping in the mall! Unless there’s a sale (and make sure it’s a really good sale!), you can hunt for gifts somewhere else. There are a lot of places where you can pick up awesome gifts such as bazaars and pop-up markets. Also keep your eyes peeled for yard sales in the neighbourhood. You’ll never know what treasures you will find!
7. Start collecting cereal boxes (or any packaging material that can be recycled).
I like to save money on wrapping gifts but, at the same time, still make sure that they are presentable! During the months leading to Christmas, I usually begin collecting used cereal boxes and actually any kind of box that can be used for gifts. And then instead of buying gift wrappers, I just buy a huge roll of craft paper, recycle ribbons, and go crazy personalising!
6. Collect discount cards and coupons.
This is the perfect time to start collecting discount cards and coupons for stores that you’re planning to visit this Christmas. You don’t have to shell out money for these discounts and you can use them to further reduce your expenses, so it’s a win-win situation.
5. Check if your credit card has special deals for Christmas.
Many banks and credit card companies have special deals and promos just for Christmas. They may offer discounts in selected stores or rebates. But remember: never use your credit card unless you can pay for the same item with cash. Never forget that a credit card is just a tool for transaction, not a genie!
4. Check your existing shopping cards to see how many points you have accumulated.
Oh, and if you have shopping cards, which grants you points every time you buy stuff from their stores, you need to call customer service now and ask how many points you have accumulated. You may have accumulated enough points to buy 1 or 2 gifts for free!
3. If you want to make gifting more special, start watching recipe and craft tutorials.
The best gifts are often handmade, but not all of us are naturally creative. Don’t lose hope. If you want to give your loved ones baked goodies or personalised handicrafts, now is the best time to start reading Christmas recipes, watching tutorials and practising. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll probably give up and just end up buying gifts — not good for the budget, I tell you.
Oh, and we have a list of Make or Bake Christmas presents. You’ll get a lot of awesome ideas from it!
2. Use Saving Made Simple, an app that helps you save money more easily.
For short-term and long-term saving, I use this app to help me determine how much I should save per day, per week, every 2 weeks, or per month to achieve the goal. It’s called Saving Made Simple and is available for Android (not sure when it will be available for iOS sorry!).
It simply breaks down your goal amount into a specific time period to help you know how much you should be regularly setting aside, and it keeps track of the money you have already set aside to give you an idea of how near you are to achieving your goal.
1. Go on a spending diet.
I know there are still 93 long days before Christmas and, surely, there will be days when you will feel like shopping. But don’t do it. Be strong. Of course, you should go ahead and buy stuff that you need, but stop buying unnecessary stuff, at least until Christmas. Instead of shelling out cash on unnecessaries, keep them instead.
Drooling over the new shade of MAC lipstick? Take out the exact amount of money you would have spent for that lipstick and drop it into your savings jar or envelope (or whatever). Instead of spending on stuff you and your family don’t need, increase your Christmas shopping fund and see your goal fulfilled in no time. Not only that, you will also be learning the delicate art of delayed gratification. *wink*
PS: It always feels better to shop during Christmas, so wait for the holidays! On second thought, shop just after Christmas and wait for the after-season sales!
What do you usually do to save on Christmas gifts?