Introducing: Christmas On A Budget!

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With Christmas one month away as of today, it seemed like the perfect time to introduce my new series, Christmas On A Budget! I adore Christmas and, like most people, I love to give gifts! However, I live on a pretty tight budget. We are a one income household, and every year it seems like our Christmas to-buy-for list grows. I wanted to share some of my favorite tips and tricks for how to survive Christmas on a budget. For every Monday before Christmas in December there will be a new part in the series, featuring some of my favorite ways to save money and still give gifts for the holidays!

December 1st: Handmade Items
December 8th: Food
December 15th: From Kids, and For Kids
December 22nd: Stocking Stuffers

I hope you’ll tag along for each post! It’s been so much fun to plan, and hopefully you’ll find something helpful!

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Below are some of the basic things I do each year to ensure this season doesn’t become overwhelming on the bank account.

1. Make A List
You know how I live off lists, right? Well, the Christmas season is no different. Often what can be so overwhelming (and killer on a budget) is the fact that the possibilities seem endless for items to buy. I always start by making a list of everyone I need a gift for, and then listing a few items I know they’d like. It’s kickoff point, and can help narrow down things for each person.

2. Stick To A Budget
I know this sounds like a DUH but I feel like it is one of those things that gets out of hand quickly. I am completely guilty of it. I’ll say to myself, Okay, no more than x amount for this person, spend it, and then a week later find something I just HAVE to get for them and spend more. Don’t do that! If you pick a number, STICK TO IT.

3. Make A Gift or Money Limit With Friends/Significant Others
This can really ease some stress if you worry about not being ‘even’ in your gift giving, which I think can be a legitimate concern! So whether it’s your mom, your BFF, your partner, or all of the above, agree to a no-more-than X number of gifts/$$ for each other and some shopping stress has been lifted.

4. Limit Gifts To Your Own Kids
This one is situational and a bit age dependent, but it can save so much money so do it if you can! In my case, my child recieves a TON of gifts from friends and family members. So as much as I want to buy her a massive amount of fun new things, I force myself to stop at a few, with a big special one from ‘Santa’. She will still get plenty, and my wallet is a lot happier. I say if you can get away with doing that too, go right ahead.

5. Shop Early
If I’m out and about in July and I see an item I know a friend will love, you better believe I’m buying it and stashing it away for later. I have a designated hiding spot for presents and I always put them there, that way it’s out of MY sight and I’m not tempted to give it to them early. Then come November, check your stash and see how much you DON’T have to buy! Seeing how it’s nearly December I realize this tip isn’t that helpful, but maybe tuck it away for next year?! A tweak to this could also be make it a goal to finish ALL your Christmas shopping by the end of November (I do this EVERY year). That way come December you have nothing to do but enjoy the season, and maybe snag a few last minute things if need be!

6. Comparison Shop
Another DUH, but one I forget about more than I’d like to. Often I buy something on impulse, than see it later on Amazon or a different store for cheaper. Now when I do my holiday shopping, I check everywhere I can think of online and then figure out what gets me the best deal. I do a lot less in-store shopping, but when I do I also try and coordinate it around sales.

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These tips have worked well for me in the past few years! I feel a lot less stressed about the holiday season knowing I don’t have to worry so much about my budget, and that is a great feeling.

What are some of your holiday money saving tips?

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