‘Tis the season, all! It may be holiday drinks, festive music and decorating galore, but deep in the holiday season, STRESS is found, and I am going to help you avoid that pesky element – and SAVOR your holiday season for what it should be! Good times with friends, family, giving great gifts, and appreciating good food, and of course, each other!
1. Budget it Out
While you may think it is too late to prepare a budget because it is practically December and the Christmas countdowns have begun, it is not! Figure out what you CAN and WANT to spend for each person on your list. DO NOT stretch yourself too thin, you will regret it later. Find a number that makes you feel good for your total spending, and be sure to leave a little “wiggle room” in case you see something extra special you want your Mom/sister/significant other, etc, to have. Always remember, you can find something great for everyone, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, it just has to be personal! [Learn more about budgeting, here]
2. Suggest a Dollar Amount
What do I mean by this? Okay! Well, when my best friends and I exchange gifts, we discuss it in advance. Are we going crazy? Are we staying in the middle? A smaller gift? What do we WANT to do? We know that the one thing we DO want is to be comfortable with what we are each spending, and so TOGETHER we decide on an amount, and must stay in that dollar amount! You can do this with your family, your friends, and co–workers too, depending of course, on how close you are. Sometimes it is a situation where you aren’t comfortable enough, and then winging it is likely going to be your best bet, but odds are, you can hopefully figure something out!
3. Shop the SALES
Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have some great deals, but I assure you, they are NOT the only sales of the season! Stores are constantly having special deals for the holidays, and you just need to do some research! A great tool for this is Shop Saavy, but if you want to use your computer and not an app, I suggest Price Grabber! This site tells you anything from handbags, to clothes, electronics, and even K-Cups! It will find and compare prices for you from many retailers, both online, and in store!
And, pay close attention, lots of stores like Target are offering up price matching for the next month!
4. Live By The List
Ever go shopping with a list and then halfway through say, eff it? You found something ELSE for that Aunt, or cousin, and went totally off track when it came to your parents? By the end of it, you total it all up and LIKELY realize, oh CRAP. I went way over what I wanted to! Example: [first is the LIST and second is after shopping and basically ignoring the list]
If you do this, and then do the math, in this case, you are now off by at LEAST 75 dollars. I suggest, finding out what people want, or what you want to give them, and making a list that you ABIDE BY. Why? That list is in line with #1, aka, your budget! Your budget is the glue that holds all this together! So, let’s attempt to stick to the list because it keeps you where you want to be! As I mentioned earlier, that isn’t to say you can’t get someone a little extra something [since you left some wiggle room!] but disregarding your list is often a recipe for disaster. [Take it from me, I’ve done it!]
5. Wrap It Up Nice
I know a LOT of people who are REALLY good gift wrappers! However, this can still be done on a budget! Don’t pour excess money into gift boxes and wrapping paper, and gift tags! Get it done, but save them dollars! Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Target are amazing places to find awesome stuff for a great price! Target’s dollar section often has cute twine, gift bags, and wrapping essentials [tape included].
The dollar stores mentioned have larger selections, including gift boxes! HOWEVER, keep in mind those rolls of wrapping paper have LESS than a typical roll! BUT, you will still save here because of the huge price difference! ALSO, when the holidays are done, GO BUY YOUR STUFF for next year! You’ll save 75% and get stuff you perhaps REALLY wanted to splurge on this year! But next year, you’ll be READY!