Saving Money and Headache This Christmas Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but also the most stressful! That’s right, I’m obviously talking about Christmas. Yes, I very well do know what month it is, but it’s never too early to start planning ahead. In fact, I like to get my act together 2 to 3 months in advance. Hence, the reason for this post. Christmas talk always comes early in my house, and for good reason. I’ve always been a huge plan in advance type of girl, and now being a parent has taken that into overdrive. My littles are still young, so I luckily don’t have the headache of hunting for Christmas list “must haves” that happen to land on every child’s wish list that year, but we all know just how busy the holiday season can get in general. I hate fighting other people, especially other parents for a parking space, aisle space, the last items on the shelves; it gets ridiculous! If I can save myself a little bit of headache, and a little bit (or a lot) of money, then of course I’ll jump at the chance to do that. So, here is my list of things that I’ve tried, and things that help me mentally and financially get ready for the holiday chaos.

• Saving VS Borrowing
Let’s start here by saying that you should NOT go broke for Christmas. Don’t let the season of giving overwhelm you, and have you giving too much of what you don’t have. Christmas should be saved and planned for, ensuring that you have a designated budget just for enjoying your holiday season. Start early, set your savings goal, and try your best to stick to it!

• Make a list of who you’re buying for
I’m big on giving, especially when I’m in the holiday spirit. It’s important that you know in advance who you plan to buy for this year. Maybe in your home you only buy for close family (Spouse, Children) or maybe you also do extended family (Spouse, Children, Parents, Nieces and Nephews) Maybe you also go so far as to join in on secret Santa at the office, and other Christmas gift exchanges, and all of this needs to be planned for. KNOW who you’re purchasing for this year to help you plan accordingly.

• Create a budget
One of the most crucial parts of not overspending with anything, is creating an allocated budget for everything. Once you decide who you plan to purchase gifts for, it’s time to start thinking about just how much you want to spend on gifts. It’s better to do this before getting everyone’s Christmas wish list, because it will be based on what you want to spend, and not what you feel like you have to spend. Plan for what you can afford, and not for what you desire. On average, your largest purchases go to your close family, but if you normally partake in giving outside of close family, you should also plan a budget for those gifts as well.

Once you’ve found a magic number to reach for your larger purchases, save towards reaching those goals first. Save weekly, or biweekly (Whatever fits you personally) and remember to be consistent. When you’ve taken care of saving for the priority of your budget, you should then start putting aside money for your extra gifts (teacher gifts for your kids, classroom goodies) or gift exchanges, and it also gives you a cushion if you do decide to splurge on something special for someone. At least you’ll know you aren’t cutting into your budget from some of your other household finances. As time goes on, and you’re weeks closer to really getting in the Christmas spirit (obviously not in the month of September) once you start getting a better view of what all you’ll be wrapping up, you should start planning what you’ll be spending on bows, wrapping paper, gift wrapping services, or gift bags because this too is an expense that should be budgeted for.

• Purge your old belongings
This can be done however far in advance you’d prefer, but when you’re getting into the mode of giving new, why not purge the old first. This can be useful to do for many reasons. I like to do it to actually make room for new things to come into our home, to possibly find things to sell for some extra money, and to also be able to give to those in need. Out with the old, and in with the new! Throw away any old and broken toys or damaged clothes, and donate any toys or clothing in decent condition. It is fun to get and give shiny new things for Christmas, but it’s important to remember that it’s not all of what Christmas is about. Spread some holiday cheer and give to someone in need.

• Buy gift cards
Buying small gift cards (But GOOD gift cards) is also a good way to save yourself some headache when it comes to saving and giving. I’ve found it to be a cool way to “save” a portion (a small portion) of my Christmas budget, because I’m a lot less likely to dip into my gift card savings. When it’s finally time to start shopping, you can use your gift cards that you purchased to places like Target, Walmart, or any of your local department stores to either purchase actual gifts and wrapping paper, or to give the gift cards as a gifts themselves. Just make sure to keep track of their totals by either buying gift card holders to write on, or adding your gift cards to envelopes and labeling them for better organization.

• Utilize Rebates and Online Membership Offers
My faaavorite way to save money and make money to use for Christmas shopping, is utilizing rebate apps and online membership offers. Ebates is great for saving money on your online purchases, and we all know that online shopping can possible be more convenient than in store shopping during the holiday season. I also use Shopkicks for an easy way to basically get free money towards store gift cards. It saves me a ton throughout the year, but right about now I like to save up my points for larger gift cards. How it works is, you basically receive “kicks” for simply walking into the store, or making purchases that you would be making anyway. If you’re interested in trying it out, you can also use my code (MALL659750) to earn yourself 250 easy kicks to get started! For my wrapping paper and stocking stuffer gifts, I normally use my accumulated savings catcher money. If you’re a Walmart shopper and you haven’t gotten hip to savings catcher, you’re completely missing out. Just shop how you normally would, and remember to scan your receipt when you’re done. If another local store has lower prices on any of the items you’ve purchased, you receive the difference to your savings catcher app, and redeem your money through Walmart pay, or a Bluebird card (My personal preference)

• Don’t fall for black Friday and Cyber Monday “Deals”
Black Friday is great, BUT, not every deal will be a deal on black Friday. It’s important to be strategic with your purchasing, and really track the average pricing of the items you plan to buy. Just because it has a red tag, doesn’t mean it’s really a red tag deal. I’ve seen people feel like they have to splurge and spend all of their money on that particular day, and in reality they only save about $10.

• Utilize free shipping
Last but certainly not least, when you plan to do online shopping, it’s beneficial to make larger purchases to qualify for free shipping. Also, if you aren’t already an Amazon Prime member, holiday time is the BEST time to invest in a membership. Sometimes it’s also possible to receive discounts on prime memberships that are worth looking into.

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  1. Oh no not Christmas time again! I have a household of teenagers that usually have a small list but that one item cost $300 and that can be a challenge sometimes. Hoping this years list doesn’t cost so much. I miss when they were little and happy with any gift. I do plan to start a bit earlier this year.

    1. That’s usually how that works. Their lists get shorter, but their wants get more expensive. Clothes, shoes, game systems, cameras etc. I should actually just start saving years in advance for when my children become teenagers! lol

  2. Great advice! Creating a list for who you are buying for helps so much! We try to set budgets for each person based on our lists. It’s never too early to start shopping for Christmas! And I am definitely trying the gift card trick this season to help me purchase!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the read! It’s really never too early to have it cross your mind. I feel like being unprepared is what causes a lot of the extra holiday stress. I hope that the gift card trick works for you.

  3. Sign. Is it soon christmas? Sign. Dont get me wrong, I love christmas minus the stress you mention about. so your tips will come in use for sure! That say, I wish you a non stressful christmas but only joy and hapiness!❤️

  4. I think everyone can use money saving tips right before the holidays. Typically the holidays provide stress for some people, but your tips provide your readers a great way to start making little changes every day!

    1. Yes, it’s not an all at once process. You wouldn’t think to bring up Christmas in September or October, but you should. Christmas for me last year felt so much easier when I did these things.

    1. I LOVE Ebates. I was a bit apprehensive when I started using it, but now it’s one of my go to things. I always try to use it whenever I can.

  5. Great tips! Christmas time can be so stressful if you don’t start planning ahead of time, in my opinion. Ebates is one of my favorite money saving apps!

    1. Ebates is the best! I love my rebate apps. It has saved me so much money that I didn’t even know I could be saving.

  6. I’m working on the purging right now. These are great reminders for the upcoming season. I don’t like buying intot the hype of shopping holidays.

    1. We currently spend a limited amount on our kids, and we do cute stocking stuffers, and “The 12 days of Christmas” where the 12 days before Christmas we give a book as a daily gift. I don’t always feel like all gifts should be monetary. In fact, the best gifts are the ones that require some extra thought.

  7. LOVE the reminder not to fall for Black Friday deals. A lot of time, I end up spending more money because it’s a “deal” rather than what I intended to spend in the first time! I need to hold myself more accountable! haha thanks for the tips! xo

    1. You’re welcome! I usually like to Black Friday shop when I’m not looking for anything specific, just browsing. That’s actually when I find some of the best items on sale or clearance, and guess what? *whispers* No one is paying attention to it, because it wasn’t listed as a sale lol.

  8. Thank you for this post!:) I cannot believe that we are thinking about gift buying, again. I especially love your tip about NOT borrowing money to buy gifts for Christmas. I was shocked to hear that people do this!
    Another suggestion is giving the gift of babysitting, doing odd jobs around the house and yard, baby proofing the whole house (if you just had a baby), several house cleanings, etc.

    1. I LOVE gifts that aren’t monetary! I planned to do an entire post (Much closer to Christmas lol) on all of the small things you can give during the holidays.

  9. I like the idea of setting goals AND giving gift cards. Honestly, who doesn’t like getting gift cards for Christmas… and that way, the person can pick out a gift they like! I need to start setting aside money now, because I always get overwhelmed when it comes to Christmas… maybe I start shopping this month haha!

    1. Another cool tip is buying small items and saving them for later. SO MUCH goes on sale right after the holidays, and even through out the year when you catch good items on clearance is a great time to buy. I like to use them as stocking stuffers for my kids, or even “just because” gifts during the year when they’re extra good.

  10. You’re right about not falling for “sales” because you don’t actually save money, it just gets you thinking you’re saving but you’re actually spending! Great post. x

  11. Gosh I can’t even start thinking about the holidays yet! I like about purging old belongings especially the kid’s stuff! I have a box full of clothes to re-sell but haven’t made the trip to the consignment shop.

    1. Right before the holidays is the perfect time to do that. Sell your things, and put the money aside for safe keeping.

  12. Thanks for the advice! I love point #1…Dont go broke for Christmas! This is so true!And point #8… I definitely take advantage of free shipping by using Amazon.

    1. It happens way too often where people overspend during the Christmas season, and immediately regret it when they’re on a tight budget going into the new year. It’s so much smarter to PREPARE. Amazon prime saves me so much during the holidays. It’s great to know that if I need to order a last minute item, it could possibly get to me in 2 days, and also that I’m not having to pay a ton of extra money just to ship a $10 item.

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