The leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping, and the season of giving is right around the corner. While gifts are a great way to spread cheer this holiday season, they can also create financial distress.
Finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones doesn’t have to break the bank. It’s possible to cut back on your holiday spending without turning into Ebenezer Scrooge. Put everyone on your nice list by using these ways to save money while choosing holiday gifts.
1. Earn Rewards
If you’re going to splurge this holiday, why not get perks for your spending? Use a store loyalty card to earn rewards on your purchases. Build up points year-round to use during the holidays or trade these rewards for future discounts, merchandise, or extra cash.
Just be sure to put your purchases on your debit card rather than an interest-bearing credit card. That way, you won’t end the holiday season with a financial hangover.
2. Start Shopping Early
Although it may be tempting, avoid waiting until the last minute to do your holiday shopping. The earlier you start gift hunting, the more time you have to find the best prices on your items.
Start by looking through clearance racks and researching when your favorite stores put items on sale — you can score some hefty discounts. Go shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get the best deals on electronics and newly released items. You’ll be surprised to see how much you can save by doing your holiday shopping early.
3. Shop Online
Shopping online is a great way to avoid long checkout lines, traffic, and road rage. It offers an easier and more efficient way of comparing prices.
You can both save money and do so in the comfort of your home at any time. Instead of wasting time and energy traveling from store to store to find the best bargain, download browser extensions that check prices automatically. These add-ons help find the most competitive price, and some can also locate coupons to add to your purchase.
4. Shop Secondhand
Great gifts don’t have to be brand-new, full-priced items. Shopping secondhand is a wonderfully affordable method for finding unique gifts for your friends and family. It’s good for the environment, too.
Places to look for vintage gifts can include your local thrift store, Facebook Marketplace, used bookstores, and eBay. Buying secondhand doesn’t have to mean purchasing worn or even used items. Sometimes, you can even find new valuables!
5. Make Your Gifts
Don’t underestimate the value of a homemade gift. Everyone appreciates a handmade item, whether it’s for a grandparent, sibling, neighbor, or friend.
If you like to bake, consider using your talent to make your loved ones a sweet treat for their holiday party. If your friend is decorating a new apartment or home, create a personalized collage for them to hang in their living room. Using your talents can yield personalized, meaningful gifts for your friends and family this year while saving you money.
6. Wrap Gifts on the Cheap
The last thing you want to do after purchasing or making your list of gifts is to spend more money to wrap them. Although wrapping paper and gift bags seem inexpensive individually, they can add up over time. If you saved used wrapping paper from last year, you’re all set, but that’s not your only money-saving strategy.
Rather than buying brand-new wrapping paper, try using recycled paper such as comics or pretty magazine pages to conceal your gifts. If you only have plain paper, embellish it with colorful markers and pens. These options save you money and allow you to personalize each present for your loved ones.
7. Give Intangible Gifts
Then again, how about skipping the wrapping altogether? Instead of buying tangible gifts this holiday season, consider giving acts of service to those who value them. Offer to shovel a family member’s driveway for the winter months or wash their car for a year. If your friends are new parents, offer to babysit their infant while they enjoy a date night out.
A gift doesn’t always have to be tangible to be appreciated. Sometimes time is money to those who don’t have enough of it!
8. Take a Trip
The ultimate intangible gift is one you and your nearest and dearest can enjoy together, creating treasured memories. While you may view a vacation as an expensive gift-giving option, it could save you money if everyone is game.
Eliminate gifts in your family and put the funds toward a joint getaway instead. Book your flights during off-peak travel seasons to avoid high travel costs. Better yet, turn your holidays into a family trip to a place everyone enjoys. Going in together on a vacation rental will save significantly on lodgings and ensure plenty of family togetherness.
Happy Holiday Giving!
The holiday season can seem like one of the most expensive times of the year, but it doesn’t have to be. By eliminating your financial stress this holiday season, you can focus on what’s important — quality time with those you love. With the proper budget, mindset, and resources, holiday shopping can be affordable and efficient. Following these money-saving tips will make your holiday gift-giving a breeze.