Do you, too, always find hospital bills, dentalwork, field trips, and other added expenses to- oddly enough- pop up right around the holidays, just when you’re trying to buy gifts? It’s strange (and saddening), but true. I’m beginning to believe this happens as a message that we are not to overspend on gifts. This year more than ever, we are cutting back our gift budget. Here are 5 ways we are making it happen:
1. Only use cash
Our credit card offered a great cash back program- in the past. But the finance charges offset earnings if we couldn’t pay it off. We are only using the money we have in the bank this year, even after paying bills. How the heck do we do this? Sheer determination and careful spending.
2. Warn the troops
We have asked others to give less to us and less to our children- and we plan to keep reminding. The amount of stuff that we haul through the door is more than anyone needs- and where can we put it all anyway?! In turn, we are giving less this year. Decades ago, people received maybe one gift or just a few…and there were mittens and candy for the kids- and they were content. We can certainly stand a little less “stuff” and appreciate what we do have and the time spent with each other.
3. Give something meaningful
We are crafting gifts this year and every year (note the awesome target my daughter completed for her brothers- she has also made them marshmallow shooters and coin banks!) Photo gifts, crocheted gifts, homemade kitchen mixes. It’s tempting to go overboard and stress over gifts, but we got this, ya’ll- use that willpower to hold back and just focus on one special handmade present for each family member.
4. Shop all year and use what you have
All through the year, I buy items on clearance and at consignment sales and store them with the Christmas decorations. The savings are tremendous, plus the spending is balanced- a little here, a little there. I look for hot name toys that can be sold on ebay or used for birthdays or donations in case the item turns out not to be something that suits my children. I’m also always on the hunt for clearanced items that can be monogrammed, which really make wonderful gifts. Repurposing items and using craft supplies on hand also work wonders for the budget.
5. Resist temptation
Changing my mind a hundred times is one of my downfalls. And maybe I tend to over-analyze the gift list a bit. A little self-control is in order here! If I bought something for someone in February, I need to stick with it. Once you have found that special thoughtful, handmade, or personalized gift for someone, consider it done!
And please do share your Christmas gift saving ideas in the comments!