Are you ready for Christmas yet? You may be wondering why we’re discussing this now, considering that it’s only August. The kids aren’t even back in school yet. There aren’t any Christmas decorations in the store yet. That doesn’t matter. Christmas happens only once a year (thank God!), but it takes the other 364 days to plan for it. The average American spends $830 on gifts for Christmas, with 30% spending $1,000 or more. How can you save up for gifts without racking up credit card debt? Here are some easy tips to start saving for Christmas presents and even reduce the amount you need to save so you can relax and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
Don't forget to check back on DealsPlus as we approach the busy holiday season. You'll find tons of popular retailers sales and discounts closer to Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, like Groupon who offers great deals on fun activities and great gifts. Subscribe to our Groupon emails so you're always in the know with their sales and deals. We'll list all available coupon and promotion discounts so you don't have to do any of the work.
Determine how much you need.
Figure out how many people you truly need to buy for and multiply that by a set dollar figure. This dollar figure depends on how much you can comfortably spend. Maybe it’s $20, $50 or $100. Resolve to buy only for close friends and family. Don’t feel like you are obligated to buy for everyone. Gifts should come from the goodness of your heart. An organized way to go about this is to make a list of all those you want to shop for, establish your budget, and carefully map out what you can and can't buy for those on your list.
Have conversations with loved ones about expectations.
If you have 10 grandchildren, five children, your parents, dozens of nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, how can you possibly buy for everyone? Perhaps you can come to an agreement to buy gifts only for the kids. After all, if Uncle Charlie wants to throw a fit that you didn’t get him anything, he’s got bigger issues. If anything, you can also opt to write and send out cards to other members of the family or even friends.
Who is hosting Christmas dinner?
Valid question anytime you have a big family and the holidays rolling ever closer. For any family gathering this year, if you're low on money, we suggest doing a potluck so everyone chips in and no one has to foot the big bill when it comes to decorating, shopping, and cooking the entire feast.
Find out how much time you have.
Simply Google how many weeks you have until Christmas and you’ll find out how long you have to save. Many people start saving for Christmas much earlier in the year, but hey, at least you didn’t wait until Christmas Eve.
Set a weekly savings goal.
Once you find out how many weeks remain until Christmas, you can divide that by how much you need to save. So if you need to save $800 and there are 20 weeks left, you need to save $40 a week. If you’re already scrimping and saving, how can you possibly put away that much money every single week? That brings us to our next tip.
Get a second job.
I know, we’re all busy. But getting a part-time job for maybe 10 hours a week or so can help you meet and even exceed your savings goal. Plus, you don’t have to do it forever. Many retailers hire seasonal workers during the holidays to deal with the increased amount of customers. Where do you love to shop? Inquire if they are looking for any help. Many stores start hiring in early October, so update your resume now! If your current full-time schedule does not allow for another job, try asking for overtime.
Don’t watch TV? Get rid of the cable. You likely have plenty of food in the pantry, so why spend money eating out? Paying money for subscriptions to the magazine you never read? Cancel them. Bottom line: stop paying for stuff you don’t need and services you don’t use and you’ll save big.
Sell stuff you don’t use.
We all have stuff collecting dust in our closets and attic. Take advantage of it by selling it. Sites such as Craigslist allow you to advertise things you are looking to unload. If you have a lot of stuff, you can also hold a yard sell. You might be able to meet your entire savings goal in one weekend!
SEE ALSO: 7 Things You Can Do This Week to Earn More Money
Now is not the time to splurge. Only buy what you need, and try to get it on sale. Clip coupons. You can find new and updated coupons, deals and promotions every day on DealsPlus homepage! If you frequently shop online, use sites such as Swagbucks and Ibotta to get cash back on every purchase. Also, plan your shopping throughout the holiday season on major shopping holidays like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, Super Saturday... you get the gist. And do it all online. The online digital trend is only moving up and retailers know some of their greatest revenue comes from online shoppers this holiday season so you will no doubt have access to all the best deals and discounts and maybe even more.
Not all gifts have to be bought! Once you've compiled your Christmas list, find creative ways to make gifts for less. Some ideas include handmade gifts like baked goods, bath essentials, home decor, and more. Get Pinteresty with it.
Save up loose change and any other money you come across.
If you pay for something with a bill, put the change in a jar. If you receive an unexpected check (birthday, refund, etc.), cash it and put it in the jar. Find a $5 bill in the laundry? You know where to put it. When it’s time to do you shopping, count everything you’ve saved and you’ll find you saved more than you thought. One of the easiest ways to set aside money is to determine how much you need for essentials (rent, grocery, etc) less any loans you have and then put aside a portion of any money left over into your savings. Even $25 or $50 goes a long way!
SEE ALSO: 5 Basic Steps to Improve Your Finances Today
Open an account.
Some banks give you bonuses for opening savings accounts. There may be some minimum balance requirements, but you could earn $50 or even $100 for free. You can’t go wrong with free money, right? You can put any extra cash in this account and watch your savings grow. As an added option, you may also want to consider upgrading to a new credit card with better cash back and perks this holiday season. Whether you're a student, parent, worker, or anything else, discover what credit card perks work best for your lifestyle (no foreign transaction fee, student, low credit, etc) over at WhizWallet.
While Christmas is a special time of year, you don’t need to go overboard to have to make sure everybody has a good time. Racking up credit card debt will only bring months of remorse as you spend 2017 trying to pay down your balance. Keep spending down, stay within budget and enjoy the holiday season. By following these tips, you’ll ring in the New Year with no Christmas debt.