Christmas shopping can be difficult for those who have many family members and friends. Especially if you’re on a budget. Between societal pressures and blatant advertising that starts earlier and earlier, feeling overwhelmed can be a natural reaction. Even if you are on a tight budget, Christmas shopping does not have to be a stressful occasion if you know how to do it right.
What Does a Great Christmas Present Look Like?
Many of us have fond memories of Christmas from when we were small children. Getting up early in the morning, having a mug of hot chocolate or coffee and then opening presents with all your family was what most kids looked forward to. To recreate a similar sense of joy and excitement, parents can sometimes get caught up in the cost of presents. Whether we are adults or children, a great gift does not have to be an expensive one.
For most family and friends, the best Christmas gifts are ones that are meaningful. While a brand new smartphone or laptop might be nice, a present that says “I know you” often means so much more. Although this may not take much money out of your bank account, choosing a thoughtful gift can take time and energy.
Who Do You Really Have to Buy Them For?
Christmas can become so fiscally exhausting that, for some of us, the holiday is associated with dread. Expectations and memories that may seem brighter with the passage of time can color our expectations of a great holiday. The anxiety of Christmas shopping on a budget can make us dread buying gifts for others. So, how many people do you really have to buy Christmas gifts for?
Buying Christmas gifts for those you love is generally a good rule of thumb. Does this mean you have to buy everyone in your office a Christmas present? Probably not. Should you buy a Christmas gift for your sister even though she told you a sweater made you look ‘hippy’ last year? Probably so.
Depending on how many people you’re buying gifts for, your budget may fluctuate. If you have four family members and a few friends, planning a budget a couple months in advance can help ease the burden of buying gifts. If you have several family members and several friends, adjusting your budget to some place reasonable may have to be a priority.
How to Buy Presents on a Budget
Once you have your dollar amount figured out, you may be surprised at how much or little you have to spend. If you plan on spending more than you’re accustomed to, making gifts from scratch or baking homemade pies or meals may be a more efficient use of money.
Homemade presents are a fun way to give presents on a budget. Because you can buy bulk materials, you will have enough left over to create another present. Here are 3 easy homemade gift ideas:
Special Jar Drinks
Making a special jar drink only takes a few ingredients. Using a mason jar, specialized coffee or hot chocolate ingredients, and a pen and paper, you can create an easy recipe for making personalized winter drinks. If using a hot chocolate mix, adding fresh mint can give it an extra kick.
A Picture Collage
A picture collage is a popular way to preserve memories. Since social media, many photographs are now online. Creating a physical photograph memorialization can be especially nice around the holidays.
Homemade jewelry is a great gift for friends. Buying jewels or chain in bulk can help with the cost while still allowing for individualized gifts. Buying small, velvet boxes online can also make the gift feel more special.
Buying Thoughtful Gifts
Thoughtful gifts do not have to be expensive or homemade. For a choice that lands somewhere in the middle, independent boutiques can help you find exactly what you didn’t know you wanted to give.
Online shops like Etsy provide customized gifts as well as eccentric presents. Some online stores will even provide wrapping services with a variety of unique paper. Engraved antique compasses, cartoon-character socks and self-contained terrariums that need no care whatsoever can all be found online. Whether you’re shopping for a man or woman, boutiques and independent online sellers can help you decide what somebody would most like for Christmas.
4 Tips to Stay Within the Lines
Christmas shopping can be a particularly difficult time to stay within the boundaries of a budget. When buying gifts for other people, it’s easy to justify over spending. Preparation before shopping can be an essential tool when learning how to successfully stick to a set limit.
1. Set a Limit
Knowing what you’re going to spend ahead of time is crucial. By calculating how much you can afford for Christmas gifts approximately two months beforehand, you can successfully shop for everyone on the list.
2. Pay in Cash
It’s easy to spend money for Christmas gifts on a credit card. Even using a debit card can feel like less of a hassle. When there are big lines and crowds of people, swiping plastic can seem quicker and more courteous to those around you. Unfortunately, paying for gifts on a card can make you forget how much money you’ve spent. It’s easier to see how much has been spent when you use physical cash to pay for Christmas gifts.
3. Shop by Yourself
While Christmas shopping with friends can be fun, you both can encourage the other to spend more than what is truly possible. Many shopping malls around Christmas time will have sales for everything you can imagine. If shopping for home goods or clothing is a particular weakness, bringing a friend can make sticking to a budget, more difficult. Peer pressure and shopping distractions can easily lead to overspending.
4. Shop for Sales
Sales shopping is one of the best ways to get high priced items at a reasonable rate. Although Christmas sales can usually be found all over the place, shopping throughout the year may actually work wonders for your wallet. When we are less pressured to find gifts for those we love, we can often buy gifts they may especially like.
Buying Christmas gifts on a budget does not have to be difficult. With the right preparation, Christmas shopping can be fun again. By shopping for sales and discovering personalized presents that are homemade or from an artist, presents can be thoughtful and affordable.