Christmas comes around every year, like clockwork, yet few people plan for it financially. Maybe that’s you this year, but it’s never too late to start saving money! Here are “10 Tips to Save Money for Christmas”.
Did you know that 1 in 3 Americans will take on credit card debt to fund Christmas, to the tune of about $1,200? By the time you finish paying off Christmas, it’ll be Christmas again. Not a good plan.
Frugal nuts do not like debt. We also don’t like to be unprepared or surprised financially. Let’s get a plan together so we can avoid both!
I’m always amazed by human nature.
Every year brings the same holidays, over and over. There are no surprises, and yet people still don’t prepare.
Tax Day comes every April, but do people have the money to pay their taxes? Generally not.
Christmas comes every December, why don’t people prepare? Most people will never plan their lives or their finances beyond the next 5 minutes.
Frugal nuts are different, right? We can clearly see the next 12 months ahead and we plan for them. While the monies might not always be available, we still plan and adjust accordingly.
I shop for Christmas all year round.
Whether I’m at a yard sale, thrift store or on Facebook Marketplace, I’m always thinking ahead. This is one of the best ways to save money on and for Christmas!
I see brand new toys and clothes all the time that would be very suitable for gift-giving. No one will know the difference unless you tell them.
Squirrel your Christmas stash away somewhere until you put the tree up! The hardest part is not telling the recipient what you got them!
Make a Spending Plan
Every year is a little different.
Maybe you or someone in the family lost a job this year, or there has been a serious illness in the family.
It’s completely acceptable to change up how you do the holidays from year to year. If you can barely pay for food and rent, then you need to make some different decisions.
Other years, you might have a bit more cash coming in, that’s just how life goes. Adjusting for these fluctuations in cash flow only makes sense. Communicate with your family members about expectations well in advance of the holidays.
Regardless, decide in advance what you’ll spend for gifts. Stick to that amount!
Automate Your Savings
Every time I get paid, the bank automatically takes a set amount out of my checking and puts it into my saving account and my Christmas account.
I rarely ever think about it, unless I see something that I want to buy for Christmas.
This is by far the best and easiest way to save money for Christmas, even if you’re only able to save a little bit each pay period.
Cut Back on Unnecessary Expenses
If you find yourself behind on saving money for Christmas, then cut back on things like cable, streaming services, coffee and meals out to fund your Christmas. Reducing discretionary spending is always a good way to generate extra cash for holidays or paying down debt.
Get a Side Hustle
I think everyone should have some kind of side hustle, especially during the holidays.
Whether you work retail, sell homemade goods at a craft bazaar or put up Christmas lights for a fee, the side hustle will keep your budget in check while you generate some extra cash for Christmas.
Be Creative and Make Gifts
There was a point in time, many years ago, when my husband and I were paying down a lot of debt, over $100K. (That story here)
Needless to say, we were cash-strapped.
Christmases were very lean for a few years until we could get back on our feet, so I made Christmas gifts for the extended family.
One year, I bought pretty baskets at garage sales for under $1 and then filled them with homemade bread and my Roasted Tomato marinara sauce (canned, of course).
Maybe offer babysitting coupons for family members or offer some other skill you may have to keep from spending cash you don’t have. You could offer to spread mulch in the Spring or paint a room!
Have a Yard Sale
Getting rid of things you don’t use any way to create some extra cash (and room in your home!) is just smart. Decluttering your environment will help you to focus better!
Walk through your home and garage, and be ruthless about what you’re really using on a day-to-day basis. Sell that extra lawn mower or seed spreader, get rid of that ping-pong table that no one uses anymore and sell excess sporting equipment.
Following your community’s guidelines for garage sales, you’ll need a few well-placed signs and tables to display your goods. Price everything to sell!
Clean out Your Closet
Clothing consignment is another great way to save money for Christmas.
My teenagers like to take their clothes to Plato’s closet, although I have found that I make more money selling them on Facebook marketplace. There are a number of websites, like Poshmark, to sell better quality clothing on as well. Just be careful to read the fine print about fees.
However you choose to do it, reduce your wardrobe to what you really need and wear.
Thrifting is another way to save money for Christmas!
Shop the thrift stores in better neighborhoods, especially in the weeks after Christmas for some amazing deals. People tend to donate all of the Christmas gifts they didn’t want!
Set Realistic Expectations
Sit down and have a conversation with your immediate and extended family about what Christmas will look like this year. Be honest about your feelings, capabilities and needs.
Christmas isn’t about extending your finances into dangerous territory, it’s about celebrating the birth of Christ. Focus on the spiritual aspects of the season, your relationships and the love you share.