It’s officially shopping season! We are in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday with less than FOUR weeks until Christmas. I don’t know about any of you, but I’m pinching pennies this year. Don’t get me wrong, we are fed and our electricity bill is paid- there just isn’t a large surplus sitting in the bank with the purpose of lavishing our loved ones with fancy gifts this year. That said, I have been forced to really do some thinking about ways to make Christmas easier on my anxiety level AND bank account.
1 | Don’t do Christmas on credit.
I know that none of you will listen to me because EVERYONE says that, but just trust me. I have made that mistake. The headache from knowing you have to pay it all off is not worth the tiny moment of joy on someone’s face. That sounds horrible, but it’s true.
2 | Don’t go crazy on Christmas for anyone under the age of THREE.
When Grayson was a wee one, I was a single mom and barely had enough to make it. I used to beat myself up for not having a giant display under the tree on Christmas morning. That was stupid. You know why? Grayson has no clue what happened on (at least) his first three Christmases and he never will. He would have been content with a box and some wrapping paper at the most. Don’t waste the money. Not to mention, our favorite part of Christmas as kids were the stockings, anyway- and that part is super cheap. Don’t worry though- I have learned my lesson, and even now- I plan to take advantage of this being maybe the last year I can get away with inexpensive toys. Oh, and Charlie? Fuhgeddaboutit.
3 | Think outside the box.
You don’t have to buy an ITEM. There are lots of thoughtful things that can be cost friendly that aren’t an object. Examples: a 30 minute lesson of some sort (cooking, music, dance, martial arts, etc.), an pair of movie/concert/sports event tickets, a car wash, or subscription boxes. (Note: a bonus about subscription boxes is that you can usually choose how many months you want to gift, so there is a lot of flexibility to work with whatever your budget is.)
4 | DIY.
I am kind of a stickler about thoughtful gift-giving. I would rather get something that cost $0 that shows that someone really paid attention to who I am or what I would like than some generic, obligatory gift that was found online somewhere under a link titled “gifts for women”. The key with giving a DIY gift that still has meaning is to consider your recipient. You also don’t want to do something that ends up costing a lot in materials OR takes up a lot of time trying to make. Pinterest is packed with ideas for inexpensive DIY gifts. Soon, I will be posting about my FAVORITE DIY gift ideas.
5 | Try Etsy.
Etsy is full of creative gifts that can be personalized or tailored to who they will go to. Every year it seems like the gifts I give that get the most shock and awe are something I found for little money on Etsy! You can undoubtedly find something creative and personal on the cheap. Just remember to get these gifts ordered in plenty of time for them to be made and shipped.
6 | Shop the sales and ALWAYS Google coupon codes.
I stalk online sales like a champ. This weekend in particular has been a GREAT time to get a ton of stuff at almost half off the normal price. A ton of sites are also offering free shipping, too. I don’t even like to shop online unless I can get free shipping. I am actually almost finished with my shopping, thanks to these sales.
AND GUYS: whether it’s now or any other time you are shopping online (or in store for that matter)- ALWAYS google to see if you can find a coupon code out there. I almost always find one and am able to save an additional percentage with that. I always price check on Amazon, too. Often times, Amazon has what you want for cheaper. If you shop in store at Target- USE CARTWHEEL. I have saved $400 in a year. The end.
7 | Think of creative ways to add to the shopping fund.
Consign outgrown kids clothes for some cash. Sell things on your local yard sale site. Check your wallet for unused gift cards that have been dormant in your wallet all year. Throw any extra money you weren’t expecting at your Christmas fund so it doesn’t feel like its coming straight out of your paycheck.
8 | Regift.
Stop judging me right now and listen. Just because something was given to me and I don’t want it does NOT mean it wouldn’t make SOMEONE happy! There have been times when I have received something lovely but I didn’t know where it came from to return it. Maybe it was a home good that didn’t match my decor (but would look great in someone else’s home!), or maybe I got a gorgeous shirt that just doesn’t fit me the right way. Or maybe your kid said he likes art supplies and got three of the same art kit for his birthday and two of them are still in the cellophane… Anyway. I don’t think there is anything wrong with re-gifting as long as you aren’t giving away something lame that shows no thought for the recipient.
9 | Check your local thrift stores.
I have been known to find a pretty stellar antique for just a few dollars that I just knew my family member would LOVE. Do they love music? Look for some vintage vinyl. Find a vintage map of their home state in an antique store and frame it. There’s always a way to make it personal, even if it’s second hand.
10 | If nothing else, send/make/email a card.
People like to be thought of. People like to hear that you love them and are thinking of them, especially at the holidays! There is not a person in the world who will be upset if you couldn’t afford to get them something expensive, but there is no excuse not to take TIME for someone. It’s the season to reach out, spend time with, and share love with others- and THAT- costs nothing.
Do you have anything to add to the list?