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How to save money for Christmas; have less debt and more gifts!

Updated on November 13, 2014
Bishop55 profile image

I'm drawn to share what I know about alternative medicine, health, frugal living, fun, animals, and spirituality.

Saving for Christmas?

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Christmas!

According to IBISWorld it is estimated that Americans spend $228.4 billion on holidays throughout the year. Holy smokes read that again!

Christmas is by far the biggest holiday in terms of spending, followed a close 2nd by Halloween. Besides just buying Christmas gifts and toys, there are added expenses you don’t always notice; food, drink, parties to attend, work “pot lucks” and secret Santa gift exchanges. You can drastically cut back on your holiday expenses with some simple plans and changes, while still enjoying the magic and meaning of the holiday!

Saving for Christmas

How do you save for the most expensive holiday of the year?

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Make a list, check it twice!

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Shop early and avoid last minute shopping

First, make a list of who you need to shop for, the spending limit, and check off each person as you go. Start your shopping and list as early as January. If you spend a few dollars a month on gifts for the coming Christmas throughout the year, this saves you the pain and agony of having to come up with hundreds of dollars for gifts the month before the big day. Pre-wrap and tag your gifts and store them in the attic, basement, garage, or wherever else you can hide the goods. Use a family members home if you have prying little ones or lack storage space. Shopping early keeps you out of the crowd that is doing “last minute shopping”, this helps keep your holiday stress to a minimum. Why last minute shop when you can spend that time doing holiday activities with your family? Wouldn't you rather watch movies by a cozy fire? Sing? Decorate the house? Bake? I know I sure would.

Post Christmas sales!

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Hit the post-holiday sales

For any holiday, once it’s over the merchants want to clear their inventory as fast as possible. Hit post-holiday sales the day after the holiday. This is not only good for Christmas, but excellent for Halloween as well. The day after, holiday items will typically be marked down by 50% or more! As the week progresses, prices will continue to drop. But you’ll most likely find the best items the day after, I’ve noticed by day 3, most things have already been picked through and purchased. This is a great way to get decorations for the following year! Store your items for continual use. Mark post-holiday sales on your calendar or in your smartphone so you don’t miss out.

Use coupons: especially for stocking; stuffers, food, drink, and decorations.

In my opinion, if you don’t already use coupons on a regular basis, you’re throwing away free money. Not applying the same saving concepts to holiday shopping is just silly! Since you’re going to be shopping early, take advantage of coupons for stocking stuffers, food, and decorations. Some stocking stuffers never go out of style; toiletry items, soaps, cologne, socks are items that are always needed and used, why not use a coupon for them? You can even stuff stockings with sample items, and those are free! One of my favorite sites for coupons is www.couponcloset.com, this is a great addition to mail inserts. A lot of food and drink can be purchased in advance when they are on sale. Who says you can’t keep that holiday ham frozen for 3 months before you use it? Sparking grape juice, wine, liquor, crackers, cheese and other items can always be purchase in advance and stored until used.

Get a seasonal job!

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Get a part-time gig

Although most people are already exhausted, you can still get a part-time job anytime during the season to save money for the holidays. A lot of stores hire for seasonal work, and bar-tending or waitressing is always needed. Even if another job is not possible, consider any type of side gig or work to increase your holiday spending limit. This could be as simple as selling things you already make, saving money from a garage sale, offering service oriented help to the community, or even helping people with home improvement jobs if you are handy!

Make your own gifts

This goes without saying, but you can save a ton of money by making handmade gifts for coworkers, distant family members, and neighbors. My favorite is handmade bath bombs (I’ve linked the recipe for use), who doesn’t want a long relaxing soak after the holiday madness has simmered down?

But the greatest thing about handmade gifts is how meaningful they are to the receiver. It shows you’ve really put some “love” into your gift giving. You can easily personalize them, save money, and have fun while doing it. Some suggestions; bath bombs, soaps, cookies, candy, photo cards, Christmas tree ornaments; crocheted hats, scarves, mittens, basically anything you can dream up! Pinterest is a great source for inspiration, and don’t forget your local dollar store, or the Oriental Trading Company for supplies.

Save!

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Start a holiday savings account

This is just as easy as it sounds. Start an account to save for the holidays. It can even be a jar full of loose change, money stuffed in the walls or mattress (although a bank would be much more secure). The hardest part is just starting! Set a goal, $20 a month for 11 months is easy enough! By December 1st, you can easily have an extra $220 for Christmas expenses.

Buy 2nd hand or used

Consignment shops, thrift stores and salvage stores are goldmines for deals. Go on discount days and you’ll save even more! These places are an endless jackpot for decorations and gifts. A lot of thrift stores even have “new” items. Our local thrift store has a section of new overstock items donated by Target usually at 75% off! These items are brand new, tags still on the merchandise. Other great items you’re almost always guaranteed to find are; vases, artificial flowers, candles, toys, books, baskets, etc…

Buying in buld from The Dollar Tree can help with home-made gift giving. And never underestimate the power of shopping online from stores like DH Gate.com. Just allow plenty of time for delivery and returns should an issue arise.

Christmas magic!

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Remember the reason for the season

For Christians, it is the time to celebrate the birth of their savior Jesus Christ.

Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends and say goodbye to another year, while focusing on the spirit of generosity and giving. While you work hard to save don’t get so hung up on giving stuff just for the purpose of gifting, the importance is to focus on fellowship and giving with an open heart. Even when you have nothing to give you can always have a wonderful holiday without gifts by watching Christmas movies, caroling, viewing light displays, volunteering at local charities and homeless shelters, decorating the house together, listening to music, and just genuinely enjoying the season with those you love.

© 2013 Rebecca

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    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Home-made gifts are a great idea and really do save money. Plus, they are so thoughtful. Nice tips here :)

    • Bishop55 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca 

      4 years ago from USA

      thanks for your comments! :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for all the useful ideas. There are some great suggestions in this hub!

    • Inutero profile image

      Andrew Nuske 

      4 years ago from Ohio

      Great tips to save money for Christmas. Thanks for the information :)

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