How To Save Money on Christmas

by Ryan Yates

Love it or hate it, Black Friday is upon us.

The only thing better than finding that perfect gift to give for Christmas is to save money in the process.

Yes we know it’s not Friday yet. But for today’s post, we decided to offer a pre-Friday Frugal Friday look at how to save money on Christmas. (Is that enough Friday’s for you?)

The idea of saving money on Christmas might put your head into a tailspin, but it’s not as far fetched as it seems. We’ve put together a list of easy-to-follow tips in an effort to help you avoid financial tragedy this Christmas.

#1 – Decide Who To Buy For and How Much To Spend

If you plan on throwing elbows in the electronics store the Friday after Thanksgiving, you might want to complete a Christmas budget and shopping list before you leave the house.

You need to know how much you can spend this Christmas and who you’re buying gifts for.

One of the worst things you can do when shopping for Christmas is to hit the stores with ZERO idea about how much you intend to spend. This lack of strategy almost always results in overspending.

The “who” question will differ based on your family traditions. Some families only buy for immediate relatives, while others shop for the entire clan.

When money was short, my family used the “pick a name in a hat” approach. Despite the fewer gift exchanges, this tactic was unbelievably exciting and suspenseful, but it also allowed for everyone to spend a little less.

#2 – Leave the Credit Cards at Home

Keep the credit cards locked up at an undisclosed location that only a trusted friend knows about and pay cash for Christmas this year.

If you’ve followed tip #1, then you know how much you can spend for everyone on your Christmas list. If you know how much you have to spend, then using cash should be a breeze.

Using credit cards makes it too easy to buy more than you intended in the first place. Using cash helps you avoid the mob mentality that occurs during the Christmas shopping season.

If you leave the credit cards at home, then there’s absolutely no way you can over spend.

#3 – Bring a Financial Accountability Partner

This might sound ridiculous, but it just might save your life . . . or at least save your credit score.

When you’re out Christmas shopping, it’s a great idea to bring along a friend or family member who can help you stay within your pre-determined Christmas budget.

Obviously, you need to have a close and trusting relationship with this person for the accountability to work. The trick to spending wisely while shopping for Christmas is to avoid the temptations and stick to your budget.

You are more likely to stick to your Christmas budget when you have someone who can hold you and your spending accountable.

Avoid bringing the friend who doesn’t make you feel bad when you leverage your child’s college future for the sake of one more purchase.

#4 – Find the Best Deals

Search the ad pages, shop online, and hunt for deals and coupons before you buy.

Don’t assume the only deals are on Black Friday (where the amazingly low priced doorbusters are usually gone within minutes).

Instead of relying on one day out of the year, research the items on your list, compare online discounts vs. in-store sale prices (remember to add in shipping costs where applicable), go to the ends of the earth looking for coupons and online discount codes, and never stop until you’re convinced that you’ve found the absolutely lowest price out there.

Other Money-Saving Christmas Ideas

  • Promise you won’t buy anything for yourself after Halloween.
  • Say No to the “sign up for our in-store credit card to get 10% off” sales pitch.
  • Quality over quantity; give a meaningful gift instead of multiple useless items.
  • Give homemade gifts (my family still talks about the homemade steak rub we gave last year).
  • Volunteer or give to the needy instead of exchanging gifts.
  • Don’t try to out-buy someone just to be labeled as “best gift giver”.
  • Make your own Christmas ornaments with the kids.
  • Find things to do with your family during the holidays other than shopping.

And if you’re spending time with family and friends this Thanksgiving weekend, be sure to take a moment and shake a hand, give a hug, spend some time, and let your loved ones know that they are truly loved.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo By lululemon athletica

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