Christmas is a great time to spend with friends and family. But it also means more expenses to prepare food, gifts, and other things related to Christmas. If you received your Christmas bonus then that’s great. But whether we got a bonus or not, earned from side hustles or not, many of us wish to save money during the Christmas season.
How do we do it?
Consider these tips:
Make a shopping list
Supermarkets and retailers have been using analytics and psychology to help them push their products for customers to buy. The aggressive sales tactics employed during the Christmas season make us more susceptible to impulse buying when looking for gift ideas.
Therefore, before going to the shopping mall, write down your list of recipients and corresponding gifts. This helps you focus on certain items (and alternatives) without getting too distracted by sales tactics.
Stick to a budget
Setting aside a certain budget for gift ideas will certainly limit the options you can buy, allowing you to stay within what you’re willing to spend. It becomes easier to justify saying no, instead of being vulnerable to that impulse buying habit.
Re-gift unused items
You may have received gifts — mugs, shirts, wallets, or earrings — that you don’t really need or duplicate something you already have. Instead of letting it crowd your room and occupy extra space, you may consider regifting it to someone who deserves it more than you do.
This will not only save you money and extra space in your cabinet, regifting to the right person is like matchmaking to someone who makes full use of an item’s value and purpose. It might make the giver feel bad, but from a different perspective, it’s also a result of a poor job of choosing a gift.
Skip the conventional gift wrapper
Merely used for decors and aesthetics, a gift wrapper no matter how fancy and cheap still adds cost to your gift. Likewise, its lifespan is also too short since it is often ripped and torn into pieces. You can save money by recycling some paper bags, glossy magazines, and newspapers and using them as gift wrappers/containers.
There are other creative ways to wrap your gifts and minimize costs and waste. Tissue paper + rubber bands, leftover wallpaper sheets, and other ideas are presented here.
Think about the recipient more than the gift
Be practical and identify what your intended recipient actually needs. Do they need a new microwave oven if their kitchen is cramped and cannot accommodate it? Maybe they need alarm clocks or scented candles, wall frames, or flower pots?
Think about their personality and what fits their needs and likes. Do not attempt to impress them with your expensive gift that might end up re-gifted to someone you know.
Check the price tag
It seems obvious but people who are in a rush to buy gifts and decorations or book last-minute holiday trips don’t appear to check the price and think for a moment. That’s how they get to spend more than they can afford. Don’t be like them.
We understand that love is priceless and we might not want to care how much a commodity costs as long as we manage to make someone happy. But if an item is already way beyond our budget, it’s no longer a healthy spending; you’ll realize sooner that your credit card expenses is greater than you thought.
Be aware of your spending so don’t overspend this Christmas.
Share costs of get-together parties
Even if you are the host of the party, be it known to everyone that in the spirit of Christmas, and gift giving is not limited on exchanging of presents, but also contribution of food, drinks, and lease of venue if applicable.
You can save further by bringing in home-cooked pot luck dishes instead of hiring a caterer, or spending it in a multipurpose hall with minimal rental fee instead of a more costly venue. With games, video, gifts, and food in the mix, surely it’s a fun and memorable Christmas party!
You might feel good to save money on a party, but if it’s at the expense of a friend’s wallet (unless he insists on shouldering the costs), you are entirely dwelling in the spirit of Christmas.
Consider shopping online
Shopping over the Internet not only eases you from the usually crowded marketplaces, it possibly saves you extra money. If you have already a shopping list, buying them online may entitle you to free shipping. Plus you don’t have to spend on gas or public transport to pick up your item.
Ban unnecessary gifts
Perhaps one potentially polarizing topic is that you should not feel obligated to give back gifts to someone just because he or she gave you something. The joy of giving should just be that: you are joyful because you have given someone something valuable.
Not that you’re expecting something in return (of the same value or not), thereby obligating the person to give back. This stretches a person’s budget and creates the notion that every friend, teacher, colleague, etc should receive a gift as well.
We often hear “it’s better to give than to receive” and it should also apply to Christmas.
Christmas is about giving, and, although not always, giving often means spending. Planning ahead, thinking practical, and spending only when necessary is the key to saving money during the Christmas season.