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Paying less for Christmas gifts

Updated on May 29, 2016
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Erin Shelby is passionate about living a lifestyle that aims for financial freedom. She writes about personal finance and other topics.

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Is it a struggle every year to afford Christmas gifts? Do you always find yourself paying with credit cards? With some creative thinking and advance planning, you can save money on your Christmas shopping. Use these tips to pay less and save money on Christmas gifts for friends, family and neighbors, and add joy to the season.

Avoid the Christmas Aisle

While you’re shopping for food, it’s easy to be intrigued by the seasonal packaging. Companies like Coca-Cola make us smile with their limited time Christmas looks. Be mindful about purchases sold with holiday flair: does the item cost more than it normally would? Can you get it for less without the snowflakes or reindeer? The same applies to gift wrap. Look at the prices for seasonal wrapping paper or gift bags and look at how that compares to plain wrapping paper. The differences might surprise you. You can still stay in the spirit without paying more. Look for traditional Christmas colors - plain red or plain green - for gift bags, or choose plain brown paper as wrapping paper. If you’re concerned about the environment, reusable fabric shopping bags are a good choices and depending on the store, the person using it may enjoy a 5 cent discount when using the bag.

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Start Shopping Before Cyber Monday or Black Friday

It’s exciting to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, and many people believe this is the best time of year for all kinds of deals. But have you considered starting your Christmas shopping before Halloween? If you’re on a tight budget, or if you simply love to save, summer isn’t too early to start Christmas shopping. If you know what your friends and family love – whether they’re passionate about purses or fans of football– you can keep an eye out for gift ideas when you’re doing your normal shopping. Sometimes items are placed on clearance even when there’s nothing wrong with them, so if you see a Coach bag or a Steelers mug at a great price, you can grab it for safe keeping until Christmas arrives.

Save a Little Each Month

If shopping for Christmas during the summer is too extreme for you, consider starting a Christmas gift fund. Stowing away your weekly spare change in a piggy bank and letting it add up through the year shows that a little goes a long way. Being able to pay for Christmas gifts without going into debt is a great gift to give yourself and your family.

Go DIY

Do-it-yourself projects aren’t limited to those involving beads and paper maché. If you’re not comfortable working with those elements, you should know that DIY gift options cover more than that. If you garden, you can give decadent gifts of homemade jelly or canned vegetables. If you’re a great cook, try giving away your homemade fudge or pies. If you’re a savvy seamstress, think about the most practical projects you can start that would be useful to those on your list.

Talk About It

Is it an option to set a spending limit for Christmas gifts? Spending limits can keep things from getting out of control. They can sometimes also result in more creativity, effort and thought placed into the gift giving process.

Does the cost of Christmas gifts stress you out?

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© 2013 erinshelby

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