There are plenty of ways to save money during the holidays, but if you're like me and just can't help yourself in the gifting department, you want to be able to cover everyone on your list without skimping on quality. It's not about how much money you spend, but how much thought's put into how the gift will better the person's life that matters. That being said, it never hurts to save money too.
Once you've made your list and set your budget, here are 13 ways to avoid financial ruin:
1. Pay cash
When you're using plastic, it never feels like you're spending as much money as you are - you know, until the bill comes in and you have to call for a crash cart. Once you've set your budget, paying cash will up your chances of sticking to it.
2. Cash in your rewards
If you collect points or cash back on your credit cards, delegate your rewards completely to Christmas presents every year. Much like casually collecting your spare change over a certain period of time, you'd be surprised at how quickly those points will add up. Come Christmas, you won't need tips on how to save money on gifts - your rewards will take care of everything.
3. Sell stuff
Go through your garage, attic or storage locker and see if there are things you can sell on eBay or Kijiji to help take the edge off during the holidays. (Plus, it'll help make room for all the new goodies you receive at Christmas.)
Reusing gift bags, bows, tissue and wrapping paper will go a long way to save you money. It's always the little things that accessorize your gifts that seem to cost a fortune.
If you're the baker and your BFF's a photographer and your cousin's a knitting extraordinaire, ban together to make stellar presents for everyone on your lists. Not only will your gifts have that special, one-of-a-kind touch, but you'll all save time by rocking your skill set.
6. Save using gift cards
Many stores offer bonus gift cards when you spend a certain dollar amount or buy specific items, which you can then regift. Or, you can buy gift cards from sites like Gift Card Granny, a fabulous online marketplace where you buy people's unwanted gift cards for a fraction of the price.
7. Research coupons and discount codes
Choose the stores you're going to shop at ahead of time, and check online for coupons and discount codes for those retailers.
8. Have your gifts wrapped in-store
Some stores offer free gift-wrapping services, giving you the opportunity to save time and a little coin too. Depending on how in-demand the service is, make sure to plan the rest of your errands accordingly.
9. Secret Santa
Instead of giving individual gifts to your co-workers and friends, why not plan a Secret Santa get-together? It's a guilt-free way to trim your shopping list. Don't forget to set a buying limit beforehand!
When you receive gifts that aren't you but know exactly who they'd be perfect for, don't be afraid to regift them.
11. Give time
If there's something we can all use more of, it's time. Help your BFF paint her living room, give your sister a night off from the whole mom thing by offering to babysit for her, or help with a project/experience they want to enjoy. Guaranteed, there's something they're putting on the back burner, and you can help make their goals a reality.
12. Focus on quality over quantity
Stocking stuffers can become the stuff of nightmares. Instead of buying a bunch of little, insignificant trinkets, buy fill-in-the-blank items that improve their everyday life: For example, if your beau is always running out of batteries for his boy toys and stealing them from the remotes, or your daughter's a stationary fiend, use it as an opportunity to stock up on the essentials they love most.
13. Buy a family gift
It goes without saying you'll buy individual presents for the people you're closest to, but for the couples or families outside your inner circle, buy a family gift that will allow them to have an experience together. For example, a night out at the movies or a gift card to their favorite restaurant. It's a great way to both offer them a thoughtful night out and save money.
How are you planning to save money during the holidays?
Related on Organic Authority