How to do Holiday Shopping on a Budget
Learning how to save money this holiday can make the season better than ever. The number one approach when buying gifts is to consider each recipient’s wants and needs. The second thing to remember is that the cost of a gift is not what makes it special.
Think simple, small and special
Find ways to impress friends and family members with warmth and love instead of expense. Make holiday gift-giving about the people more than things, and have fun choosing thoughtful presents that go over big despite carrying small price tags. Just view shopping on a budget as a challenge, not a chore.
For example, many grandparents love framed artwork created by their grandchildren or snapshots of the kids. Teen girls appreciate nail kits; usually, the more colorful the polish, the better. Teen boys care about appearances, too, so get them fun t-shirts. Board games make great family gifts, as do movie passes, Christmas ornaments and other decorations.
If you have friends with whom you often share meals, you know their favorite flavors and can make them bread, spaghetti sauce, jams or desserts they love. Presentation is everything with these kinds of gifts. Choose a good-looking cutting board, an attractive jar or a nostalgic tin to deliver the homemade food gift.
Friends who travel might like to receive a blank journal to keep track of their adventures. A pretty journal is also a great gift for a new mom or for someone going off to college.
If you’re in a gift exchange circle, campaign for everyone to give handmade presents or to stick to a price limit.
Go ‘green’ for holiday lights
Replacing traditional holiday lights with strings of LED lights may not save you money this year, but the newer lights will pay for themselves in reduced electricity costs over time. As bonuses, LED bulbs last at least twice as long as incandescent bulbs, and more LED bulbs fit on a string. LEDs are even safer. They run cooler, so they don’t dry out a live Christmas tree, and they’re less likely to burn fingers.
If you still use traditional lights, put them on a timer and consider putting them up later in the season or using fewer strings.
Browsing and buying online can save you considerable time and money. You don’t burn gas, and you’re not tempted to visit the food court or a restaurant. You may also find buying only the items on your shopping list easier when you aren’t face to face with store displays.