With Christmas on the way, many of us are thinking about how to save money on Christmas presents. Here are 10 tips on how to save money on Christmas shopping - without losing the sparkle!
1. Set a Budget - and Stick to It!
Figure out exactly how much you want - and most importantly, can afford to spend on Christmas gifts. Don't get caught up in trying to compete with others - gift-giving isn't a competitive sport!
Although everyone wants to be generous, keep in mind that most people can't remember from year to year what presents they got on Christmas. Don't go broke trying to impress!
2. Start early!
The earlier you begin your shopping, the less likely you are to panic and go overboard in a desperate "I have to have a gift right away" panic! Take advantage of sales all year long, rather than just relying on the last minute sales in December.
3. Snag Discounts on Social Media
Be sure to follow your favorite stores and brands on Facebook and Twitter. They will frequently post money-saving coupons and sale items.
4. Buy Family or Couples Gifts
Rather than buying individual presents for everyone in the family or for couples, combine gifts whenever possible. It's much less expensive to buy a really nice gift for a family of 4 for $25 or so than than to spend $10 per person on Christmas gifts.
5. Give to Fewer People
Lots of families shop only for the kids at Christmas. If you have siblings, talk to them about not buying gifts for the adults. Or you might consider drawing names so that everyone just buys a gift for one person.
Don't be embarrassed - chances are, they're feeling the same way. Even if money is not an issue for them, they probably find it stressful to find gifts for everyone in the family.
6. Make Your Own Christmas Gifts
Giving homemade gifts is a fabulous way to save money - and making the gifts will put you in a festive mood. Don't worry, you don't have to be Martha Stewart to turn out impressive homemade gifts.
Bath scrubs and salts, gift baskets, mason jar gifts, baked goods...there are so many delightful and easy-to-make homemade gifts. Pinterest is chock full of homemade Christmas gift ideas - start with this board of easy homemade Christmas gifts for inspiration.
7. Shop Online
Most stores have the same sales online as they do in-store. It's much easier to compare prices and look for online discount codes when you shop online.
And did you know that you're much more likely to buy something if you actually touch it? Handling objects sparks possessive feelings - which you can avoid by shopping online.
8. Take Advantage of Free Shipping Offers
Most online stores offer free shipping, especially around the holidays. Usually free shipping doesn't kick in until you've spent a certain amount, so combine your purchases to reach that amount. If needed, check with friends or neighbors to combine orders.
Take advantage of coupons - retailers are especially generous with coupons during the holidays. Look in your newspaper for local coupons, and be sure to sign up for the email clubs of your favorite stores.
10. Don't Treat Yourself
It's easy to be tempted by all the sales and deals to buy something for yourself - almost 60% of Americans buy "me" gifts while holiday shopping!
Remind yourself that you'll be receiving gifts from other people during the holidays, and that the items you're tempted by will probably be even more discounted after Christmas.
11. Look for Discounted Gift Cards
Stores such as Costco and Sam's Club frequently sell packages of discounted gift cards, especially around the holidays. But you can also check sites such as Gift Card Granny to scoop up discounted cards. Either give them as gifts, or use them to shop at the stores...either way you can save big!