The holiday season is a time of togetherness, but it is often also a time of giving and receiving gifts. As families grow, planning gift giving can be a budget nightmare. How can you work around your shopping list without breaking the bank?
One of the easiest ways to cut your holiday spending is to use the skills that you have to create gifts yourself. Whether you sew, bake, paper craft or bead, you can create some really awesome unique gifts that kids and family members will love. “I try to think about what they would really want, need or like,” shared Cheryl, mom of one. “My grandfather doesn't need anything, but he loves when I bake him bread. So, he gets bread!”
Buying for adults is fun, but once families grow and you have nieces and nephews to buy for (plus your own brood), it can really shrink the dollar amount you can spend on each person. Some families forego buying for adults altogether — or if you're not ready to make that move, consider buying a gift for a couple to share (think gifts for the home). Heather, mom of two, has a good method that she employs every year. “Everyone gets a budget,” she explained. “The kids usually get the highest amount, and the further from you get from our ‘inner circle,’ the smaller the budget becomes.”
Some families draw names instead of buying presents for everyone, which works out especially well in large extended families. However many names you put into the hat is the number your family must draw for. This means that you can control how many gifts your family gives, and how many it gets. For example, Robyn’s family focuses most of the Christmas shopping on the kids. “We do a gift exchange with the adults where we all get one person and have a limit of $50,” she shared.
Is getting a good deal worth an early wake-up call and crowds? Then Black Friday is the way to go. Stores often release their Black Friday offerings well in advance of the day, so you can strategically plan which stores to go to and when. This is what Lindsay from Texas does every year. “I hit Black Friday sales,” she shared. “It's crazy, but the deals are so worth it!”
Many moms do their holiday shopping during the entire calendar year. Instead of waiting until November and December to load up Santa's sleigh, they keep an eye out for sales all year long, which can really add up to a tremendous savings. “I try to find good clearance sales throughout the year so it doesn't hit me all at once,” said Nikki. “I've got quite a stash for Lucas, my niece and my nephew. I start Christmas shopping in January!” Lisa, mom of one, has a similar plan in place each year. “I buy throughout the year... that way I can take advantage of sales, and I'm not rushing to get it all done last minute,” she told us.
Holiday spending can be a source of stress, but if you use a couple different strategies it can ease the burden on your checkbook and keep the holiday spirit alive.
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