The holidays are a time for gratitude, giving, joy, being with friends and family, but a big part of it is about spending money. And for those of us on a budget, it can be tricky to keep up with monthly bills and have enough left over to purchase presents for our loved ones. The following list of tips should help ease the burden of gift giving this holiday season:
You may plan on waiting until the last minute to buy gifts, but this type of rush-purchase can end up being more expensive than you had bargained for. Buying a few gifts here and there, as opposed to doing a shopping binge session will help you save in the long run. Check online stores for deals and use the "request alert" feature to see when particular items go on sale and buy them at that time. Many brick and mortar stores will honor online prices with price matching so be sure to check out weekly circulars and visit in person.
2. In-Store Coupons
While you are at the store checking for deals, ask the people at the counter if they have any coupons available. Often times, stopping by the mall office before shopping is like hitting the lottery! Many outlet malls have promotions and rewards just for shopping in their building. A little known secret is that many stores have special coupons set aside for disgruntled customers, but they expire in December, so the employees are more likely to give them away during the holidays.
3. Get Crafty
Homemade gifts are more acceptable than ever before. With the newfound popularity of DIY crafting videos, your loved ones will be thrilled to receive a little something from your artistic side. Even if you do not have a crafty bone in your body, there are plenty of ideas that can be created by anyone who puts their mind to it.
This practice used to be considered a faux pas, but it in a time where student loans and credit card debt are choking the life out of most people's bank accounts, now is a better time than ever to give away what you don't need. An example of a good re-gift item is when a non-drinker receives a bottle of wine; they can redress the bottle in a gift bag or with a bow and give it to someone who will appreciate a potent potable.
5. The Whole Package
If you cannot afford to buy the most expensive gifts, dressing them up in fancier packaging can make you feel better about giving on a budget. Dollar stores have amazing items such as wrapping paper, bows, gift bags, glitter and anything else you can think of to make your presents look picture perfect. Handing someone an inexpensive mug in a box is okay, but why not decorate the box on the cheap for an extra dollar or two?