For many, the holidays are stressful. There always seems to be a shortage and time and money. If you find yourself lacking both, you’ll love the five tips I’ve come up with that will help you streamline your shopping and free up your days so you can truly appreciate the spirit of Christmas. Whatever you do, try not to fall into the trap that a lot of money needs to be spent to hand out gifts. The holidays are about more than “stuff” you can buy for others.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Set a budget and stick to it. I see families go broke this time of year because they don’t put a cap on their spending and don’t follow a set holiday budget. They have multiple children and feel like they must match the price value of each gift that they buy for each one of their boys or girls in order to be fair. This type of thinking leads to overspending. Give your kids one or two things they really want instead of trying to give them more. Your kids don’t have the time to appreciate their gifts when there are far too many.
- Some of the best gifts I’ve ever received were not store-bought. Handmade items really resonate well with me. I love the time and effort put into this type of gift and appreciate it that much more. If you have a lot of people on your holiday list and have access very little money, you can do wonders by using your skill set to make wonderful presents for your family members, work colleagues, neighbors, and friends. Explore more free holiday gift ideas.
- Don’t underestimate thrift stores, consignment shops, and yard sales. You don’t know how many times I have found excellent, brand new items secondhand. The only difference I see is in the price of the gifts I buy. If you start early enough in the year and put things away as you purchase them, you will have a nice selection of presents to wrap for Christmas. The key to being a savvy secondhand shopper is only buying the items that you know will be used or enjoyed by the people on your gift list.
- Focus on the things that money can’t buy. There are so many reasons to celebrate the season. Spending time with your church family, your immediate family, your extended family, and your circle of friends can bring you more joy than any gift can. Donating your time to a worthy cause like a soup kitchen, nursing home or animal shelter can give you a great appreciation for celebrating the holidays with less. Instead of feeling deprived, you feel rich beyond words.
- Reduce, re-purpose, and reuse. Read Beth Hargis’ tips for simplifying Christmas. Do without the things you don’t need. Be creative and use the things you already have on hand. Re-purpose items and turn them into new decorations and gifts. You get the idea. Glue guns work wonders!
You don’t have to go broke to have a happy holiday. Just remember to take the time to appreciate the little things. The most joy can often be found in the details.
Charissa is into frugal living and saving money.