It’s the most wonderful time of the year…unless you haven’t started Christmas shopping yet, then it becomes the most stressful time of the year! Here are a few tips to make your holiday merry without breaking your budget.
Tip 1: Look at your budget to determine how much money you can afford to spend this year. Do not go over this amount! It can be very tempting to use credit cards when you are shopping and see all of the “amazing deals,” but you will almost certainly regret it in January when the bills come.
Tip 2: After you determine your budget, make a list of the people you need to buy gifts for and the amount of money you can spend on each person’s gift. It is a good idea to set up a chart with each person’s name, the amount you want to spend, and gift ideas for each person.
Tip 3: When you are on a budget, you may have to prioritize your list. Immediate family will usually come first, followed by close friends, relatives, and work colleagues. If you are having a tight year, don’t feel bad if you can only afford to buy for family – explain that you are on a budget and would prefer not to exchange gifts this year at work, etc.
Tip 4: Don’t spend a ton of money on gift wrapping and expensive cards – most of it ends up in the garbage anyway! Check the dollar stores for inexpensive gift bags and cards – many stores have cards 2 for $1.00. You could also make your own cards – especially if you have children who can help. A homemade card with a drawing by a grandchild on it will mean a lot more than a $6 card you purchased.
Tip 5: Another great way to save money is to make your own gifts. If you are a great baker, consider making homemade treats for friends and family. If you sew or knit, make a homemade scarf, hat, etc. for friends. Use whatever talents you have to make a personalized gift that your friends and family will cherish for years to come.
Tip 6: When shopping for children, remember that they aren’t worried about the price – they just want something fun! You can buy some cheap art supplies like coloring books, crayons, markers, etc. at the dollar store and they will be perfectly happy with their surprise – especially if you spend time with them to work on their artistic creations! The gift of your time and attention will be appreciated much more than the latest gadget.
If you would like more information about this or any other family and consumer science related topics, please contact the Tattnall County Extension Office at 557-6724.