I saw a photo on Facebook yesterday that said we have seven Mondays until Christmas. Um, what? It reminded me that I need to get going on this gifting thing. But with just buying a house, it’s a little overwhelming. So I plan on having a frugal Christmas. Is there such thing as a frugal Christmas???
Here’s how I see it, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on Christmas as long as you have a plan.
Christmas is my favorite holiday because I love to give gifts. And I have a lot of people in my life, so it can get a little out of hand picking out the perfect gift at an amount that works. I go over on people, go under on others and I never feel good after the holidays are over. I always think about that one person who gave me a really awesome gift, but I didn’t do too hot on them.. It’s a struggle.
THEN, you’ve always got a new baby, your cousin’s new boyfriend, or that estranged uncle who’s decided to show up to think about. So to keep me from literally panicking, I’ve sat down and came up with a few tips for helping me get through the holidays without being in debt. And with all of my sanity. I learned these tips watching my family members around the holidays and how they made it work. So, I hope these can help you, too.
- Have a dollar amount for each person. My mom taught me this one, but it works like a charm. Sit down and evaluate how much you would like to spend for each person in your life. Write their name and a dollar amount in a small notebook. When you are out shopping, take your notebook with you and write down the items you purchase for each individual person and the amount it costs. If you go over on a particular person, you can move a gift to another person. The key is to not go over!!
- Buy in bulk where you can. Every year my dad goes out and finds “The Man Gift” of the year. Typically, this is some sort of tool or device, but he gets one for every guy in the family. It helps knock off a gift for every guy in one swoop. But don’t let it stop with the guys! This can work for the ladies, too. Think about one large gift and then toss in little stuff to make up for your total budget. I love tossing in items like hand lotions, lip balms,and hand sanitizers for all of my ladies.
- Consider not buying for your significant other. This one may be tough, but if money is tight ask your significant other if you can just focus on gifts for others. (Knowing my man, he’d probably not have a problem with it!) Maybe settle for a nice dinner out together or one handmade item. Typically, the budget J and I have for each other is about $250 each, which would help out on other gifts tremendously if we didn’t buy for each other. Besides, we just bought each other a house! That’s good enough, right?
- Get crafty. Baked goods and DIY gifts come straight for the heart. Get on Pinterest and find some things that you can make for your loved ones. My sister loves to craft up stuff for Christmas. She does canvas paintings, things with wood, handmade jewelry. Everyone always loves it. Those kind of gifts can save you money and they are more significant to the giftee.
- Dirty Santa or Secret Shopper. Everyone knows how Dirty Santa or Secret Shopping works. The idea is to draw names from a hat and only buy a gift for that person. The trick is to set an amount everyone can work with. If you set it at around $30-$50, that’s a pretty good gift! You could also exchange gifts if you end up not liking it, as long as the member left the gift receipt.
- Ask people what they actually want. This may seem mind-boggling, but ask that hard-to-buy-for person exactly what they need. If the answer is socks, then by golly get them a pack of socks. My dad is this person. He’s the hardest to buy for, because he’s already got it all. PS: If my family members are reading, all I really need is money for the house. Forget the gifts and just give me the cash! Please and thank you. :)
Don’t let the spirit of Christmas fade away because you’re stressed about money. Just have a plan and stick to it! I’ve created this fun printable that you can use for setting a budget per person. Click here to download: Christmas Gift List
For tips on budgeting while in college, check out this post:
Or click here.