We know that we've talked about holiday spending many times before. You can never hear too many great ideas about how to save money though, right? We certainly don't think so. That's why we're bringing you 5 more savings ideas to help you to keep your spending under control this holiday season!
Re-Evaluate Your Wants and Needs
We've discussed needs vs. wants before in other articles focusing on budgeting and money management. This skill of being able to understand what you truly need comes in handy around the holiday season, as well. Now, of course, no one NEEDS holiday gifts. The idea of re-evaluating your needs and wants refers more to who you truly wish to buy a gift for this year. Immediately family members typically make the list, but do each of your child's teachers need a holiday goodie bag? Probably not. When making your gift list, keep it simple. The holiday season is about giving, but that doesn't mean you have to give more than you're able.
Another approach to re-evaluating your needs and wants is to think hard about the gifts you DO buy for your family members. Make sure the gifts you buy for your family are ones that will last and aren't a waste of your hard-earned money. Here are some questions you can ask yourself while browsing gifts:
Is this a gift that...
- they will use regularly?
- they don't already have?
- they will get many years out of before it needs replacing?
Impulse purchases can be hard to avoid, especially when you think you've found the absolute perfect gift. Unless it's the night before Christmas, and you've spotted the very item on the shelves, we think you have more than enough time to shop around. Why wouldn't you want to make sure you're getting the absolutely best deal out there, right? Browse the internet for the lowest price on the gift you want to purchase. Many retailers offer sales and coupons close to the holiday season and you'll never know about them if you buy from the first place you go.
If you're not up for the task of physically visiting each store and taking note of the price, an easy option is to use a price comparison search engine. These search engines collect data from several different retail websites and vendors in order to compile them all on one site for you to see. This method of shopping will save you both time and money. Here are a few sites that you may find useful this holiday season:
Shop Year Round
Now that we're in the mindset of shopping around, why not give yourself even MORE time and start shopping early in the year? You're more likely to spend less money if you don't feel rushed into purchasing something before you run out of time. To combat overspending, try to make a list of possible gift ideas at the beginning of the year and keep an eye out for sales throughout the months leading up to the holidays. By doing this, you're avoiding the risk of overspending on last-minute gifts, as well as, avoiding spending a large amount of money all in a short period of time.
We all know that young children change their minds on a frequent basis! It may seem pointless to buy a gift for a child in February that may have completely different interests once November rolls around. To solve this, another method of shopping year round is to buy a gift card in a small amount each month of the year. By doing this, you're putting away money towards gifts each month without having to commit to a gift early on.
Be Wary of So-Called "Deals"
When we see the words "SALE", "DISCOUNT", and "DEAL" we seem to automatically assume we're getting more for our money. This is, unfortunately, not always the case. While there are very good deals out there, we can sometimes be tricked into buying more items than we need. How can you have saved money if you're purchasing items you wouldn't have bought on a regular trip to the store? We're pretty sure that you can't!
Imagine you're out shopping for gifts around the holiday season and you come across a sign for "Buy 2 get 1 half off!" If the item on sale is typically around $30, you could be saving yourself $15 dollars! Sadly, no. You're actually wasting $45 dollars! Would you have bought 3 of that item had they not been on sale? Try not to stray from what you would normally buy for the people on your shopping list.
Buy Used or DIY When Possible
Obviously buying used isn't always a good idea, or sanitary for that matter. However, you can find pretty good deals buying holiday gifts from a thrift store and refurbishing them to suit your loved one. We don't recommend buying stained clothing, or old electrical appliances, but you can find the piece of furniture that just needs a quick makeover to make it like new again! Can you imagine the look on your loved one's face when you turn up with a tailor made rocking chair perfect for their sitting room? No one will know you spent pennies on the dollar AND you'll be avoiding purchasing something expensive your loved one may or may not even use! If you're not wanting to make any alterations to your Christmas gifts, an easy thrift shop find is gently used children's books and toys. These can easily be wiped down and disinfected and will be a perfect toy for your child or grandchild (that they will soon grow out of!)