I know you don’t want to hear this, but Christmas is less than 75 days away. It will be here in a blink of any eye. Right now is a great time to sit down to create a plan for your holiday gift shopping without accumulating a pile of debt.
If you have been buying gifts throughout the year and tucking them away it’s time to pull out the gifts.
If you don’t check out what you’ve already bought, you may end up buying another gift you don’t need. Next, make a list of the people you plan to buy gifts for this year and check it twice. Review the list to determine who should really be on the list. Include a dollar amount for each person. Next, total the amount and if it’s unrealistic, review and revise your list.
Now, that you’ve made your list, use cash, check, or debit card. Another option is layaway which is being offered at stores including Wal-Mart, Kmart, Best Buy, Toys r Us and T J Maxx. Don’t use your credit cards unless you pay it off each month. Leave your credit cards at home or lock them up in your safe deposit box. It’s easy to get caught up in the joy of the moment and when we run out of cash, we just say, “charge it”.
Another money savings tip is to buy discounted gift cards to use for your holiday shopping. There are numerous websites that buy and sell discounted gift cards. Shopping for the man in your life? ABC Gift Cards offers 13% off Dick’s Sporting Goods, but don’t wait because the cards go quickly at this time of the year. Other discounted gift card websites I found by doing an online search – PlasticJungle, GiftCardGranny, andGiftCardRescue. And, if you have gift cards you don’t want, these same companies buy gift cards. Sell them to get extra money for your holiday shopping.If you love to shop visit the Goodwill or other thrift stores. I started frequenting the Goodwill a few years ago to look for treasures for our annual Girl’s Day Out fundraiser gift baskets. I was shocked at how many brand new items people donate. Just a couple of weeks ago I bought a new (still in the box and wrapped in plastic) OXO wine bucket and drink shaker for $6.99. The wine bucket by itself is $42.00 at Target.
A few more gift suggestions and holiday savings ideas include:
- A lot of organizations have fundraising auctions this time of year. Attend these events to support your local community and bid on silent auction items. You can find some great deals and creative gifts. If you purchase a gift basket and it’s more than you want to spend on one person – separate it apart and create two baskets.
- Make handmade cards, including thank you, sympathy, get well, birthday, congratulations, etc. Use photographs to create the cards or use a computer program. It’s a fun project for parents and children to do together for grandparents or the person who has everything.
- Use family pictures to design a personalized calendar. Be creative and decorate the dates for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Your children can get involved by placing stickers on the special dates.
- Talk with your family, friends and co-workers about drawing names for gifts this holiday season.
- Gift certificate for a day of yard work, house cleaning, window washing, or car washing. This is a great idea for elderly parents and grandparents.
- Gift certificate to spend a day together doing whatever the recipient chooses. Many peopleappreciate the gift of time with their loved ones more than something store bought. My husband Steve has given me a gift certificate for a “Day at the Beach” with Steve and our dogs. We have a ton of fun in the spring when the weather is warm and sunny watching our dogs run in the sand and waves chasing birds. Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the very best gift!
- Gift certificate for a Mom’s Day Off – when Mom gets to go out and do whatever suits her fancy while the rest of the family stays home and cleans the house or other chores. This is also a good idea for Dad’s Day Off.
- For fathers who are avid sports fans buy or make calendar. Place stickers on all the dates their favorite team is playing. If you live in Kitsap County check out the local BlueJackets baseball team. We don’t go to a lot of professional ball games because it’s expensive, but we love going to BlueJacket games because for an extremely reasonable price we sit in the second row between third and home base, get to know the people around us and the players.
- Purchase gifts online. It’s easy and you can comparison shop before making your purchase. Ebay has some great deals (watch the shipping cost) and Amazon often offers free shipping if you spend $25.00 or more.
- Movie gift certificates for people who like to go the movies. They can use the gift certificates for the movie ticket and snacks. You can find discounted gift cards on the gift card websites I mentioned earlier.
- For the person who loves to read, buy used books. The Goodwill and other thrift stores often have gently used books for less than $3.00.
- Have a family white elephant gift exchange this year. One of my friends does this every year with her family and its lots of fun. Each family member buys a unisex gift. There’s no price range and gifts can be re-gifted. Some people buy funny gifts; some people buy their gift at garage sales or the thrift store. The whole idea is to have fun with it. The actual gift exchange works like this – everyone draws a slip of paper with a number on it. Number one picks first. The second person can either steal number one’s gift or unwrap another gift. After a gift has been stolen twice, it’s frozen and can’t be stolen again
- Search online for coupon codes before you shop. I showed Coupon Codes in Google and came up with hundreds of Coupon Codes. It’s mind boggling!
Don’t wait another day – sit down, write out your holiday plan and stick to it!