Is it OK to be both excited and terrified for the holiday season? Yes, it is, and you probably should be. Consumers are planning on spending $885 on gifts this year. Which is great and all, except for the fact that many of us don’t have the budget to drop almost a grand on gifts for the holidays. We are desperately looking for ways to save. Unfortunately, many people don’t look and have to suffer the financial consequences for the next half of the new year. Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways to save, and we’re going to go over some ways to have a good holiday season without imploding your budget.
Become the gifting king or queen without going broke
First, make a list of everyone you’re planning on getting a gift for this season. See if there is anyone you didn’t really talk to or are as close to this year. You might want to give those people a free gift instead of a paid one. You have to remember, you don’t have to buy everyone a gift, a simple phone call or a meetup for lunch can be good enough for the people you are not extremely close to. Also, look into the idea of cheaper gifts such as gift cards. For example, a $15 Starbucks gift card could last multiple trips for someone while you don’t know if the $50 gift you are getting someone will be worth the investment. And if you’re a creative mastermind, you wow your friends and family with some homemade gifts!
Nothing is better than getting a present that comes from the heart. You actually can handcraft a gift like a bracelet or a tea wreath, which might be better than getting some product that anyone can get anywhere. It’s unique and can only be from you. My personal favorite homemade gift idea is to create a “coupon book” of different fun small favors and/or activities that your giftee can cash into you. It makes for a cool little book of funny drawings for the giftee.
If you’re more of a culinary expert, you can work your magic with holiday treats such as cookies or banana bread because everyone wants banana bread at any time of the year … unless you are allergic to bananas or bread. Anyway, last but not least, don’t forget the magic you can give from an experience! Taking someone out to the beach or a picnic in the park would be a great gift that could last an entire day and not be too costly. There are many ways to cut down on spending this year without cutting people off from getting holiday love from you altogether.
No gifts at all!? Sounds crazy right? Well, it’s actually becoming a trend that’s by far the most efficient way to save this holiday season. Nine percent of American families don’t participate in holiday gift giving at all and 13 percent of American families are considering it. Families who have stopped giving gifts have said that their holiday season is most stress-free and family-focused. This might be a great option if you’re right out of school and in a lot of debt.
Don’t let the season of gift giving make you financially irresponsible. There are many ways to make the holiday season work with whatever your budget is. Remember, it’s about being with loved ones and showing them how important they are to you. All gifts big and small will always be appreciated. So, if you’re spending more than $800 or you’re doing no gifts at all, make sure you are taking care of yourself financially this holiday season.