10 Great Ways to Save Money on Christmas Gifts
Talking heads may speak of the rising cost of living like it’s something new, but it’s not. We parents know we have always had to deal with the high cost of gas, rising food costs, and high electric bills.
Moms and dads are pretty used to saving money to make ends meet on an everyday basis, and they are generally pretty good at stepping up to the burdens of a bad economy.
It’s not the everyday challenges that are the hardest usually. It’s the special purchases that usually take the wind out of families. It’s generally items such as birthdays, recreation, vacations, and holiday gift giving that pay the real price.
There are ways to make life better and increase your family’s ability to enjoy some of the nicer things. Learning how to save money in all areas and budgeting income and expenditures will be your best plan of action for your family’s day to day needs.
However, finding ways to save money at Christmas time will help your family during that special time of year.
One way to save a lot of money is to learn how to save money on gifts.
To help you in that respect, here’s a list of 10 great ways to save money on Christmas gifts.
10 Ways to Save Money on Christmas Gifts
1. Make a list of who you’ll be purchasing gifts for; set a budget for each one, and stick with your plan.
This can be one of the best money savers available no matter what your budget is and whether you have tons of people to buy for or just a few. Writing names on paper well before you even purchase your very first item of the season, considering what you have to spend, and determining what specifically you can spend on each one on your list, is a smart process that will help you see the entire picture more clearly and help you know right up front what you can and can not do.
If money is tight, having a list and an overall plan of action you know you need to stick with also helps you stay on track as you go through the aisles filled with all sorts of products you had never thought of previously and probably shouldn’t spend money on.
Basically, just remember to make a list and check it twice, cause spending money unnecessarily is naughty, not nice.
2. For large extended family gatherings, suggest and organize a Secret Santa gift exchange or have some fun with a white elephant gift exchange.
Create an event, and make the event fun. If your family likes games, include some organized games with the exchange, or include a Christmas reading, song singing, simple craft activity, or even organize an outdoor Christmas caroling activity along with the gift exchange.
To get some ideas on what to do for a family gift exchange, here are three good websites to get you thinking:
Santa Lady’s White Elephant Gift Exchange
3. Shop early for seasonal and monthly deals; then enjoy the Christmas deals.
Great Christmas gifts are available in the months preceding the holidays, and smart moms and dads can reduce the costs of Christmas as well as reduce the amount of holiday stress by taking advantage of monthly and seasonal specials throughout the year.
Best buys for September include bedding, towels, iPhone accessories, bicycles, and grills.
Best buys for October include toys, lingerie, gardening items, and blue jeans.
November is the best month to purchase HDTVs, GPS units, and Blue-ray disc movies.
You can get great deals on cookware in late November and in early December.
Of course, you can always wait to see what last minute deals the stores offer in December as well, and there will be some. However, if you make your shopping season a little longer, you raise your chances of finding the best deals on the regular kinds of items your family and friends would desire and/or enjoy the most.
4. For unique Christmas gifts, combine old and new.
A pretty vintage mixing bowl found at the local thrift shop, cleaned and shined up of course, filled with specialty bread mixes or bags of homemade brownie mix can be a great Christmas gift for Grandma or for anyone who enjoys and appreciates older home items. An old fashioned tin box can be filled with a new set of earrings. An antique canister set can be filled with hot pads, hand towels, or (in thinking about my mom right now), Hershey Kisses.
The lower cost of the thrift shop item can offset the newer item’s cost, making the price of the gift a little less overall.
Make sure you tailor the new item(s) to the interest or need of the receiver so they’ll get use of it, but don’t be surprised if you see your thrift shop find on display in their home after Christmas with an even greater appreciation.
5. Make your own Christmas gifts.
You can find many nice crafts for Christmas gifts at stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby, and many online craft websites offer supplies, DIY projects, and directions. Even some of the larger magazine publications like Better Homes and Gardens and celebrities like Martha Stewart provide Christmas craft ideas for gifts.
A great site with several craft websites is Frugal and Thriving at: http://frugalandthriving.com.au/2009/35-of-the-best-craft-websites-across-the-net/.
Plant gifts can be nice homemade gifts as well, especially when planted by a grandchild’s hands.
Some other ideas for saving money on Christmas gifts include:
6. Order Christmas gift baskets with free delivery, or make your own gift basket and save even more.
7. Create your own edible food basket or fill a wicker tray with baked goods.
8. Purchase a family membership to the zoo, a local theme park, or the local children’s museum during the off season when it is the cheapest time of year to do so, and prepare a creative presentation for your family to receive the family Christmas present that they will enjoy for the next entire year.
Such a gift saves on recreation costs during that next year as well then!
9. Plan a Christmas family break during Christmas and enjoy an inexpensive family getaway during the holidays in lieu of focusing solely on giving presents to each other on Christmas morning.
While you might still want to bring along a few wrapped items for the kids, traveling itself and giving time to each other can end up being an enjoyable life experience that costs far less than a bunch of purchased objects.
10. Don’t be afraid to purchase used items from Craigslist, Ebay, thrift shops, and pawn shops when you can find the items your kids want at an inexpensive price.
We purchased all of our children’s toys at a thrift shop one year, and while it wasn’t the greatest for us parents (due to other factors going on right then in our lives and knowing how tough times were for us) our kids LOVED what they received that year anyway.
The rest of that story is that the next year we were able to purchase all kinds of fancy smancy toys, and all they played with were the boxes!
Enjoy the preciousness of this moment in time with your children more than any precious things you can buy, and give whatever you can of yourself, knowing that the love alone which you give to your family is worth far more than gold.
And one more thing to remember…
During good times and bad, when it comes to Christmas gifts, we have all already received the best gift of all, Jesus Christ, and nothing, NOTHING you give now could even top that best gift of all. Cherish it. Claim it. Cling to it during times such as these, and pass that gift onto your children too.
Saving money on holiday spending can be a little hard if you aren’t prepared, but if you begin in advance thinking of ways to save on holiday gifts and commit yourself to making this a joyous season no matter what you can or can not afford right now, you’ll go a long way in making this upcoming season a better one for you and all those you care for most of all.
Wishing you all a joyous holiday season with the greatest gift of Joy available to mankind!