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Save Money & Time Buying Presents for the Holidays

The holidays can be one of the most trying times for a budget. Yet, finding a way to fund the family’s wish list and still grow your savings is possible with a bit of planning. The sooner you start planning for the holiday gift-buying season, the better your chances are of keeping costs in line and under control. When you are crunched for time with few ideas, you’re more likely to spend more on any gift you find just to be sure your loved one has something to open. But, a few careful steps now could mean cost-savings later. And, that means something left over at the end of the year to help you buy something for yourself, or just to invest wisely.

Check Out These Tips for Some Helpful Ideas on Saving:

1. Start a Fund
As soon as you can, begin tucking a bit of money away for the holidays. One of the best ways to do this is with a Christmas Club. It allows you to put money aside in a special account designed just for your holiday shopping. You simply need to make regular deposits into the account throughout the weeks ahead of Christmas to have the funds you need. But, to make this work, you need to make consistent deposits. To do that, it is best to consider direct deposit or a payroll deduction. As soon as your check hits the account, funds move into the Christmas Club Account. This makes it automatic – and therefore easy – to do.

The sooner you start this account (at any time of the year) the better.

2. Create a Wish List
You don’t need to ask everyone for a list of things they want you to buy. But, as soon as possible, and hopefully long before Black Friday, have a list of who you need to buy for and some gift ideas handy. Doing this allows you to get the worry and frustration out of the way.
With a list in hand, not only do you know what to buy, but you can start looking for discounts and deals. Remember, planning in advance like this means you’ll spend less overall.

3. Use the Internet as Your Tool
It is always wise to use the internet as a way to save both time and money. First, buying online makes the process of making the purchase easy.

For example, instead of having to go to the department store (where you are sure to buy more than just that one thing you need) you can buy right from the comforts of home. This actually saves you money itself. Skipping the store and those impulse buys is essential for money saving, and it just makes it easier to buy when you are busy.

In addition, you’ll find numerous discounts options out there. Coupons and promo codes are readily available. Create a new email address for yourself. Then, use it to sign up for newsletters and rewards programs from your favorite stores. You’ll find plenty of discounts this way, but sites like RetailMeNot and can also help reduce those costs further with savings opportunities.

4. Establish Goals and Boundaries
While giving a gift is so important to many people, set some boundaries early. Holiday spending is a very expensive part of your year’s budgeting. But, you don’t want to start the New Year under a pile of debt. The best way to avoid this, then, is to create some boundaries.

Here are Some Ideas:

  • Instead of buying for every member of the extended family, do a gift exchange. That means you can spend a bit more on something special since you only have one person, instead of six or eight, to buy for.
  • Talk to the kids. Decide on how many items they can ask for during the holiday season. Challenge them to come up with a few ideas that are very important to them. This makes every gift more valuable.
  • For adults, come to an agreement whether to buy gifts or not and then set a budget. By setting a specific goal here, you eliminate the risk of overspending.

Make gifts more meaningful than valuable. For example, grandparents may want to buy toys, but kids will play with them for only a short amount of time. Instead, create memories. Plan an experience for the kids instead. Gift your adult children a weekend to themselves – you’ll watch the kids while they take a few days away to themselves. Being creative like this creates more meaning.

5. Focus on Quality Rather Than Quantity
When buying a gift for someone, ask yourself if your money is going towards something that’s worthwhile. For example, you may be tempted to buy a $50 gift basket of lotions for a loved one. But, how much of that is going to pay for the basket and wrapping? Will they use that? Instead, determine what they need or want. That ensures your investment is worthwhile.

It’s always best to focus on items that are valuable to the person receiving them. But, making that $50 go further isn’t hard to do.

Here are a Few More Ways to Make it Happen:

  • Create personalized gift baskets on your own. Buying the components of a gift basket to give, for example, costs significantly less than buying one pre-made. And, it’s more personal.
  • Shop local when possible. Skip the big retailers and turn to independent companies in your community. Doing so helps support the local economy, but also helps you find unique gift.

You also have a number of tools to help you continue to save. Do you have a Rewards Credit Card? Use it to make purchases where you can earn rewards. Look for a Personal Loan if you want to consolidate your spending. With a Personal Loan, you may be able to avoid high-interest rate Credit Card debt.

The more creative you are with your holiday spending, the more enjoyable the holidays will be for everyone. No one wants to worry about money during a season when other things are much more important.

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