It’s estimated the average American spends well over $700 preparing for Christmas alone. From finding the “perfect” gift for your fussy in-laws to allowing your spouse to go overboard with the decorations; it’s nearly impossible to maintain a reasonable Christmas budget. Although it may be hard to believe, it’s possible to get through the winter holidays without amassing overwhelming debt or crossing off half the people on your list. Use a few simple, inexpensive tips and suggestions to make this holiday season memorable without scrimping on the gifts, decorations or all important personalized Christmas cards.
Think Outside the “Black Friday” Box
Everyone knows about “Black Friday” and has their 2 a.m. leftover pumpkin pie breakfast and power shopping itinerary well-planned. What these same bargain hunters don’t realize, though, is they’re missing out on some amazing deals while remaining trapped in the “Black Friday” box. For instance, many major retailers are now offering coupons or access to unadvertised deals through social media sites, including Twitter and Facebook. Retailers are also beginning to sweeten their deals the closer it gets to Christmas, so don’t hesitate to brave the mall crowds on Christmas Eve to score the best prices.
When in Doubt, Look for the Code
Several retailers and shipping companies offer online promo codes during the holiday season; there are also sites like Go Promo Codes you can turn to. The ultimate intention is to attract new buyers, which provides you with an excellent opportunity to test out a new website or service for an amazing discount. Who knows; you might find a promo code leads you to your new favorite online store.
So What If You Bought Your Grandmother’s Christmas Gift in July?
When it comes to Christmas shopping, the best way to save money on gifts is to dig for bargains in the final days before Christmas or several months in advance. While toasting the New Year with your friends and family, start thinking about their Christmas gifts for the following year. Would your aunt enjoy a new set of luggage? Go ahead and purchase it in April. How about a new golf club for your husband? Purchase the pitching wedge when it’s on sale… in July.
Discover Inexpensive Holiday Delights
For many, Christmas (and the holidays like it) is more about the experiences than the gifts; but this isn’t always the most inexpensive way to view the season. From throwing a lavish soiree to purchasing the most elegant Douglas fir on the tree lot, creating the ideal Christmas ambiance isn’t cheap. Instead of wasting money on catered dinner and overpriced trees, throw a fun potluck for your friends and family members, take the kids on an adventure in the woods to cut down your own tree and if all else fails, nothing is more festive and fun than constructing a snowman as a family.
The Magic of Thrift Sales and Off-Season Shopping
Ribbons, bows, ornaments, an inflatable Santa for the front yard, wreaths, candles, table cloths: the “must-have” list to turn your home into a winter wonderland seems to expand every year. Instead of wasting your money in the department store, start mapping out your holiday décor strategy the day after Christmas and don’t stop until the end of summer. In an effort to clear the shelves, retailers will discount last year’s ornaments and garland quickly, but don’t shop on the day after Christmas like everyone else. Wait about one to two weeks to score the best deals. Once the summer hits and the weather is very un-Christmas like, bargain hunt at your neighborhood thrift sales. Resist the urge to purchase everything; instead only buy items that meld with your original plan.
Personalized Doesn’t Need to Equal Expensive
Every year, you purchase those generic holiday greeting cards because you assume the elegant, personalized photo cards are too expensive. It’s time to put on your Sunday best and pose with the kids in front of a roaring fire, because many online retailers are offering amazing discounts on personalized photo Christmas cards. Take a few minutes to search for coupon codes from sites such as VistaPrint to snag the best possible deal on cards your parents and friends will happily display.
When it comes to holiday shopping, if you’re not sure what to get for the dreaded “person who has everything,” you can never go wrong with a gift card. It may seem impersonal or uninspired, but instead you’re actually doing both yourself and the gift’s recipient a huge favor. You’re saving yourself from the stress of endlessly searching for the ideal present, while ensuring the recipient doesn’t have to stand in line for hours on Dec. 26 returning it.
About the Author: Karen Wilkinson is a freelance blogger and DIY guru. When she’s not making a festive centerpiece, Karen can be found sharing her passion for saving money during the holiday season on her blog.