Christmas often costs hundreds of dollars. On average, Americans spend $633 on holiday-related expenses, like gifts, travel, and décor. That amount isn’t always affordable, so finding ways to save money during the holiday season is essential. Luckily, there are ways to cut costs that still allow you to fully enjoy what Christmas is all about. If you are a couple that needs to save money this holiday season, here’s how to get started.
Make a Gift Plan
While it might sound more enjoyable to scour stores, waiting for the right gift to catch your eye, that isn’t always the best way to buy presents. The approach is very emotional, and you might overspend because you think you’ve found the perfect gift and can’t imagine passing it by.
Instead of using this spontaneous approach, consider being more methodical. Begin by listing out every person you want to shop for and prioritize them. Next, set a total budget for shopping, and break that down by designating a specific amount for each person. The amount per-person doesn’t have to be the same, as you may want to spend more on your closest family members and friends than others.
Then, do a little thinking. See if you can come up with an idea that aligns with each person and the budget you set for them. Once you have one, you have a specific target, making it easier to stay on track.
Give Fewer Gifts
In some cases, you simply can’t afford to buy for everyone you would like to, and that’s okay. While paring down your list might be difficult, it could also be a necessity.
If this happens, there are options that can help you save money this Christmas without hurting anyone’s feelings. First, consider talking to your close family members and friends. Let them know that you need to reduce your spending and see how they feel about skipping the gift exchange this year.
You could also present an alternative, like getting together for a nice meal you all fix together. If you are part of a large circle of friends or have many adult family members, see how they would feel about doing a secret Santa instead. Then, everyone only has to purchase one present, but it can still be a fun experience.
When you track down gifts, make sure you are legitimately getting the best deal. Prices can vary widely from one store to the next, even on the exact same item. Before you buy, hop online and see if another store has it for less. If so, you can either buy it there or see if a local store price matches, allowing you to reduce your spending thanks to a little research and diligence.
Don’t Be Afraid to Regift
If you received a gift last year that you never used, and someone else might appreciate it, consider regifting it to them. There is nothing wrong with this tactic. You just need to be careful if you use it. Don’t give it to the original giver, first and foremost. Also, avoid giving it to someone close to the original giver or who might know that it was a gift you received last year.
There are some scenarios where regifting works with relative ease. If your friend circle doesn’t cross over to your family, then regifting between those groups is generally safe. Additionally, if you are roped into a secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange at work, regifting here might be a great way to participate without spending a dime.
Elevate an Inexpensive Present
Inexpensive gifts can often be elevated, allowing you to save money while still giving something amazing. For example, if you have a coffee-lover you need to buy for, purchase a small bag of gourmet coffee as a centerpiece. Next, get an inexpensive coffee cup, like a solid-colored mug at a dollar store. Place the coffee bag inside the mug. Place a few pieces of chocolate around or under the coffee bag. Finish it off by wrapping it in cellophane and tying it off with a ribbon, and you’ve got a quaint, useful gift.
The nice thing about this approach is some of the add-ons can be purchased in bulk and divided between recipients. For example, you can get a big bag of chocolates and split it up as long as the pieces are individually wrapped.
You could similarly purchase a pack of Christmas ornaments and divide them up. Then, get some craft paints and personalize each one. It’s an affordable way to add something unique to the mix and can come across as very heartfelt.
Essentially, by combining inexpensive items, you can create custom gift baskets or elevate a simple present. Plus, if you focus on useful items, there’s a good chance it will be appreciated.
Go the Homemade Route
There are plenty of homemade gifts that are cost-effective and will still make a big impact. Sweet treats like cookies, brownies, or homemade marshmallows can be excellent choices. Bath bombs and body scrubs are surprisingly simple to create but still have a wow factor. Flavored salts, oils, and vinegars aren’t complicated to craft either.
If you head online, you can find recipes or instructions for a wide range of homemade gift options. Plus, many are customizable, allowing you to make certain adjustments to ensure your recipient will love their gift.
Buy Household Gifts
Couples can save money at Christmas time by using a different gift-giving approach as well. Instead of buying separate presents for every household member, consider giving a family gift. For example, a membership to the local zoo or aquarium, a year subscription to a streaming service, or a similar option that can be enjoyed by everyone is a solid choice. You’ll only need to buy one thing, making it simple. Plus, while that one present might cost more than you’d spend on a single family member, it’s usually less than you spend on their entire family.
Avoid Shipping Costs
During the holiday season, paying for shipping is never a great idea. It can offset any product price savings you may have found quickly. Plus, too many retailers eliminate their shipping costs during the holidays to justify paying for it.
Unless you are buying an item that literally can’t be found anywhere else (and that you are getting at an amazing price), don’t shop at a place that charges for shipping. It just doesn’t make sense.
Do you have any tips on how couples can save money at Christmas time? Share them in the comments below.
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