Some of the most festive times of year occur around holidays, during which families and friends engage in gift-giving traditions to mark and celebrate holidays. Giving gifts is part of the festive seasons surrounding Christmas and New Year's, but families also exchange birthday present, as well as gifts symbolic of a variety of religious holidays. And while giving and receiving gifts is a good time, it can also lead to overspending when it is not closely monitored.
Some shoppers budget for holiday gift spending throughout the year, setting aside funds for buying gifts for family and friends. In fact, many prudent planners actually buy the gifts over time, so they are prepared when the holiday season falls. Although spreading purchases out over time and budgeting for holiday spending are great ways to ease the sudden impact of holiday spending, the approach still relies on your hard earned money to make holiday buys. No matter how you account for the cash, saving money on holiday gift giving is essential for some families struggling with slowed cash flow.
Stick to Holiday Budgets
The spirit of the season is a powerful elixir, drawing us in to make purchases during the highly commercialized holiday shopping season. One by one, presents, decorations, and other holiday cheer make their way into our homes, leaving trails of receipts and credit card bills in their wake.
The best way to slow holiday spending and save money on gifts is to eliminate the impulsive nature of holiday shopping. Start by crafting a reasonable budget and a list of the people you intend to give presents to. Once designated, assign dollar amounts to each gift of your list, establishing spending limits for each of your presents. And while budgeting is a worthy first-step, you must abide by the spending restrictions imposed, in order to save money and keep spending in line.
Make Informed Gift Purchases
In some cases, it's all you can do to identify a suitable gift for friends and family members who don't have a lot of apparent needs. But others are very clear about what they want, giving holiday shoppers opportunities to compare prices and find the best deals available on specific items.
Buying designated gifts well ahead of time is the best way to make sure you'll have the needed items at holiday time, but it doesn't always facilitate the best price. When money is tight, and holiday budgets lean, take advantage of every sale and promotional opportunity available. Track individual items, noting how prices change and try to get a sense for the amount of demand for specific goods. By monitoring trends you may find an item deeply discounted at certain times of year, or you may be able to take advantage of a special store promotion offering blanket discounts.
Homemade Gifts Furnish Cherished Memories
Regardless of your financial status at gift-giving time, homespun presents are a great way to share holiday spirit. The cherished mementos create lasting memories for the recipients, as well as the makers. In many cases, making gifts is cheaper than buying them, so there is an economic incentive built-in for cash-troubled gift-givers.
Food is an ideal focal point for holiday gift giving. Longstanding traditions like baking cookies and making fudge furnish coveted gift packages, which spread equal parts of love and holiday cheer. In addition to the standard fare, inventive holiday gift givers share snack mixes, nut blends and a limitless array of homespun culinary attractions. Beverages, like homemade cordials and other tasty concoctions also serve as excellent homemade gifts.