From treating your family and friends to expensive meals to taking long-awaited vacations, holidays could drain your pockets fast. Activities around the holiday consume a lot of money, but getting fantastic gifts tops the list. A practice we have had since time immemorial, gifting our loved ones makes the holiday complete, sometimes at the expense of our budgets. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Herein, we discuss several ways to retain family, friends, and your money long past the holidays.
1. Create a Budget
People always regret not creating a budget after a holiday. You can hardly blame them as gifts often seem small and indifferent initially. However, failure to come up with a list of things to consider for gifting and their possible price tags has many risks. One of them is you can easily fall into the temptation of buying the first impressive thing you think your loved one wants, ending up with too many unplanned purchases. You also risk buying fantastic gifts at expensive prices as unplanned buying leaves you no time to shop around and compare prices.
Shopping without a budget removes the idea of a limit, which doesn’t seem bad when you still have money. You’ll go on a spree and spend money you should have saved for other things, eventually regretting when you find that by buying random gifts, you ate up money meant for things like repairing your house or even putting up your planned concrete patio. To avoid this, list all the items to buy and tasks you need to be done and allocate money to them.
2. Shop Early
Are you a last-minute rusher? You’re not alone. Like many things with no solid deadline, most people rush to select fantastic gifts for the holidays too late. There’s no harm in it. After all, you say, the mall won’t close anytime soon. One risk is that late purchases will cost you a limb.
One old trick to save on holiday spending is to make your purchases early throughout the year. Waiting for the last minute means you’ll have fewer shops to select from. Like you, shop owners want to spend quality time with their loved ones, and as expected, many will close shop as the holiday approaches. The remaining ones will price their goods high, knowing you won’t have much choice.
The other harm in waiting too long is failure to get what you want. Other than having few shops, the available ones won’t have many services you’d find on regular days. For example, a shop that offers customization may not have time to make your custom photo frames. They’ll go for quick sales to attend to all the other last-minute rushers.
Mailing or shipping your holiday gifts at the eleventh hour will have your pockets weeping. Like other businesses, the delivery services will charge extra to deliver your gifts during the holiday. There’s also a chance your gift might arrive late, given the high traffic they have to deal with.
3. Hunt for Deals
Holiday festivities aren’t for shoppers only. Different product and service providers share the merry by giving deals. You can get terrific deals, from lower prices and discounts to coupons and other rewards. You only need to look around and find what best suits your intended recipients.
This sounds very lucky, and you might expect to walk away with loads of fantastic gifts from every mall you visit. However, it’s unlikely if you’re looking for standard items to give. What makes you think everyone else isn’t going for them?
The catch in utilizing deals to save on holiday gifts is selecting those people will pay little attention to. For example, most will seek offers on candy, books, and other holiday season items. Don’t go for this.
Holiday time is great for visiting online garden supplies vendors. While they also have deals on other items, many customers aren’t thinking of gardening. Grab the cash, visit as many online shops as possible, check the best offers, and fill your cart. Your loved ones will thank you when they can easily mow their lawn after the festive season passes.
4. Utilize Coupons
You’ll have collected coupons from many businesses annually. Whether from work-related workshops, your favorite retailer, or event online coupon databases, the holiday season may find you with coupons you have yet to use. They’ll come in handy when you want to gift merrily and save.
Lay out all your coupons and, against them, the last possible recipients. In doing so, you’ll find that your favorite aunt might love a travel bag from a shop you would never purchase from. Your friend might benefit from your coupon for a discount on iron castings, an item you might never have on your shopping list. Take the opportunity to put them to use.
5. Save on Everyday Expenses
It’s common to want to spend more during holidays. The thrill of instant gratification layered with spending lots of time at home inflates your budget over the holidays. Your temptation to eat out, host, or treat friends to drinks is higher as you seek ways to unwind from the year’s happenings.
This joy will wear out so fast when you come out of the season broke. It’s wise to watch your everyday expenses even when purchasing fantastic gifts for loved ones. While it might not seem like it, this is the best time to note down every cost you incur and look at them at the end of your day. This way, you can tell when you’re approaching or exceeding your limits.
Noting that your income is the same throughout the year, cut out daily expenses to create room for gift buying. Use the free holiday time to try DIY for services you might have paid for during ordinary days. For example, try fixing minor issues at home instead of seeking professional auto repair services. You can invite friends who know services you don’t and exchange ideas.
6. Give Unused Gift Cards
While gift cards are always a welcome relief, most are forgotten, expired, or lost. You’re not alone if you’re guilty of leaving yours in drawers for a long time. While we’re eager to use gift cards in our favorite stores, not all find use. Those from specialty stores suffer the worst neglect as you stash them away, waiting for the right time to redeem them. Like with coupons, gift cards create an opportunity to treat your friends and family without spending a fortune.
Take, for example, a laptop repair gift card you got when you purchased your still-new device. Your nephew, whose laptop is falling apart, will thank you for the rest of the year when you send it their way in place of an expensive candy box. The same goes for your newlywed friends to whom you gift your unused vacation gift card. The trick lies in listing all your available cards, recipients, and their urgent needs.
7. Put a Limit on Number of Gifts
We live in the age of overconsumption; therefore, wanting to buy every item you see on display isn’t only a ”you” problem. Anyone would want to purchase all the fantastic gifts for their loved ones. However, such buying leaves you and your pocket in tears. You can’t buy everyone all the gifts you expect would please them.
That’s why you need a limit. To do this the right way, start early by shopping around. Create lists of all the fantastic holiday gifts you come across and whose recipients you have in mind. Compare prices in as many stockists as possible. Try thinking of what your loved ones do that pleases them to increase your chances of finding the best gift.
Create time to prune once you have a comprehensive list. Group the items per intended recipient and analyze them by versatility, price, and hand longevity. This way, you’ll find it easier to choose car vacuums over various gifts for your car enthusiast brother. Try to limit one cherished gift per recipient, and you won’t have to sell your house after the holidays.
8. Gift an Outing Instead of an Object
For every place you have visited many times and don’t want to go anymore, countless people are waiting to go. Be it your all-time holiday destination or next-door restaurant, an affordable outing option could be your pocket savior for the coming holiday. Instead of seeking expensive fantastic gifts for the holidays for your circle, offer them an outing instead.
This could be in the form of vouchers you received to visit over the holiday, an offer from work, or even a place you booked but no longer want to go. It doesn’t have to be an expensive and hard-to-reach destination. Your gift this holiday could be a meal in your neighborhood Korean restaurant.
For this to work, evaluate who among your family or friends would want to go to your designated eat-out or getaway. Gifting someone a free meal in a restaurant they wouldn’t pick even if they were starving will work against you. To avoid wasting this chance, ask around who would like to go.
9. Offer a Group Gift
Does the cost of getting all your loved ones’ gifts stress you even before the holidays begin? You’re not alone. Fantastic gifts can be pretty pricey, especially with a tight budget. You might consider getting cheap and less notable ones or ignoring the whole idea to save money.
That doesn’t have to be your fate when a group gift is an option. With this, you can bring out the smiles among your people by identifying one gift that fits them all. Children, for example, might love the idea of a play day, and hence, setting up a bouncing castle in your backyard could do the magic. If you’re worried about lighting up your family members, ditch the list of things to buy for a Christmas tree. It’ll not only give them time to bond when decorating, but they’ll also find a platform to share their gifts.
Christmas trees work well for larger groups such as colleagues, church groups, or even homes for the elderly. The trick here is to let everyone know they can help set up. Small items such as pens and candy wrapped together into mini gifts also make excellent gifts that won’t leave you high and dry.
10. Create a Gift By Hand
As everyone else runs to the shops and fills their carts with similar and repeated gifts, choose to work yours at home. With enough time and a million available ideas online, crafting personalized items can make this coming holiday memorable for your loved ones. While they may cost nearly nothing, DIY homemade crafts make a considerable difference due to their personal touch and uniqueness.
While you may still have to outsource some services to complete them, home crafts make fantastic gifts for the holidays. The beauty is there’s no limit to gifts made by hand. You could bake your nieces their favorite pie or weave your grandmother a shawl in her favorite colors.
To stick to your holiday budget, start early by identifying what best suits each of your intended recipients. Plan to work on them, allocating each gift adequate time. Identify those you can easily assemble using materials on hand, such as old clothes to repurpose quilts.
Find those needing extra help, such as sewing for ornamental pillows or printing services for homemade cards. Seek such services early enough as last-minute rushes will ruin the whole gift. To make it merrier, allow people around you to help craft some gifts that they think would suit others. While you may have to buy all your gifts, creating homemade wrappers allows you to cut costs. Look up examples online and fashion your wrappers depending on your recipients’ tastes to create the oomph.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to treat those close to you this coming holiday. The tricks above allow you to maximize opportunities, cut costs, and excite your loved ones, a win-win situation. Choose carefully to match your available options to their most likely recipients, and watch your savings go up. Remember to shop around and start early. Ship or mail your fantastic gifts for the holidays together where possible to further reduce your holiday spending.