Now that we’ve officially moved into the month of December, it’s safe to say we’re fully emerged in the holiday season.
The month of December brings along with it many things: holiday parties, colder weather, that claymation “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” special from the ‘60s, egg nog and candy canes.
It’s also the time of the year where we show our friends, family members, loved ones and even co-workers how much we appreciate them by exchanging gifts. Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done – particularly in today’s economic climate.
If you’re looking to save money this holiday season, you wouldn’t be alone. Even if you weren’t necessarily thinking about saving money, you might want to after you hear that Citi is projecting the United States will fall into a recession in 2016.
It’s one thing to save money, but it’s another to be perceived as someone who’s being a cheapskate around the holidays.
So how exactly can you save on your Christmas list without appearing to be a reincarnation of Ebenezer Scrooge? Consider the following tips:
You Don’t Have to Get Everyone on Your List a Present
Maybe you worked with Janice in accounting seven years ago and got along magnificently. However, if you’re struggling to figure out how you’re going to afford presents this year, it might be time to stop getting Janice presents – particularly if she hasn’t gotten you anything since 2010. In a similar vein, you can probably eliminate at least a couple of other names off your Christmas list this year without feeling bad about it.
Skip the Stores and Make Gifts Instead
Just like you can usually go to the grocery store, grab a lot of choice ingredients and make yourself a tasty meal instead of forking over more money to eat at a restaurant, so too can you save money on holiday gifts by putting things together yourself. The good news is you don’t have to do something like write a poem or paint a picture while having zero artistic skills. Just spend a few minutes on Google and you’ll find tons of DIY gift ideas on the web.
Get Crafty With Rewards Points
If you have any credit cards that have rewards programs, try to force yourself to use them as cleverly as possible. For example, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card offers 6 percent back on purchases made at grocery stores. Buy 10 $10 Amazon gift cards at a supermarket and it’ll only end up costing you $94. Sure, it’s a small savings, but it adds up – especially when you start shopping like this always.
During the holidays, we come together to celebrate love, friendship, health and happiness. If you’re truly broke, your friends and loved ones will understand – well, at least some of them will. The good news is that you probably have an inkling as to who those folks are. So in certain instances, it’s OK to let a good buddy know you’re unable to get him anything this year, for example. If you find yourself in this scenario, start saving now. Get him a nice present out of the blue in April.
Shop Around for the Best Deals
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find great deals. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, keep your eyes open for e-commerce retailers that will be offering deep discounts to encourage sales. You can also head over to coupons.com to see which items are available for a discount and from where. By shopping smart and taking advantage of the best deals, you’ll have no problem getting the most bang for your buck and crossing names off your holiday shopping list.
Start Your Holiday Shopping Early in 2016
The last thing you might want to do is head back to the mall during the first week of January. However, many retailers offer sales during the beginning of January to clear out items that weren’t sold during the holiday season. By starting your holiday shopping as early as you can next year, you reduce the likelihood you’ll have to read articles like these come December 2016. Remember, it’s all possible if you budget properly.
The holiday season is a great time of the year to show those in your life how appreciative you are for them. If you’re struggling financially this holiday season, it’s OK to get creative and ditch plans for getting friends and loved ones an iPad Pro, tickets to a sold-out New Year’s Eve concert and a PlayStation 4.
Remember, there’s a reason these folks are in your life in the first place: They love you and enjoy your company. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t get them shiny diamonds or Prada bags – it’s the thought that counts.