Practical Tips to Keep Your Spending in Check Before the Christmas Gift Craziness Begins

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The Christmas Holiday period is already upon us. I noticed that many shops opted out of Halloween this year and focused their energy and efforts on Christmas sales instead. For many years the consumer trend was to splash on Christmas gifts and Christmas Holidays get aways. The corporate messaging, we have been exposed to for generations always implied that the bigger the gift, the more a person is loved. As if a price tag could and would measure love.

If you feel overwhelmed with the idea of Christmas gifts during these uncertain times, check out the list below to get you thinking outside the box:

  1. Step away from Amazon, Etsy or any other online retailer that helps you spend too easily and too quickly.
  2. Knowing how much you will spend is paramount to your Christmas shopping success. For that, I suggest spending only cash or paying with a debit card. If you put your Christmas shopping on your credit card or use one of those buy now and pay later services, you won’t be able to track your spendings. Paying by cash or with debit card will help you know how much you have already spent and how much of your budget is left.
  3. Ask your family and friends what they need or want—buying something people don’t need or want will only add to someone’s clutter. I believe in practical gifts both for adults and kids.
  4. Don’t buy random gift cards; give money instead. Not everyone has the same taste as you.
  5. Shop second-hand. Many big companies seeing how lucrative the second-hand market has become, started offering such items. Since the pandemic, more and more second-hand online shops have popped out. If charity shops aren’t your thing, you can indulge yourself in second-hand online shopping. However, always ensure you have something concrete in mind; otherwise, you will buy too much of what you don’t need. If you are hunting for second-hand Christmas bargains, you might need to start in advance to find what you are after.
  6. Try to make your own unique Christmas cards. Yes, it will cost money to buy the supplies. However, if you research and shop for bargains, it will work out cheaper than buying one of a kind Christmas cards. Besides, making your own Christmas cards is lots of fun. If you don’t want to spend any money on the art supplies, you can even reuse art and craft supplies from other art projects, and bits of cards from previous years.
  7. When it comes to Christmas wrapping paper, I always suggest buying the discounted paper the year before. Often for £1 you can get good quality, funky wrapping paper; however, if that isn’t possible, buy brown paper and add some Christmas glitter or Christmas stamps/prints on it (you can also use those for the Christmas cards). Also, reusing wrapping paper from other gifts is perfectly ok. and not only good for your Christmas budget but also for the environment.
  8. See if you can give sustainable gifts this Christmas, something your loved ones can use for many years to come. Long-term gifts are always a good idea, even if they cost slightly more.
  9. If you find it hard to find the right gift for someone, make something. Cookies and cakes can make perfect Christmas gifts too.
  10. If you have the skills, you could make handmade gifts. There are a lot of handmade Christmas gift ideas online. Most of those can be done for a fraction of the retail price. Of course, it will require a significant time investment. If you are conflicted about that idea, ask yourself if you would rather stay home to make a gift for someone or work 3-5 hours extra to pay for that gift. Personally, I would rather stay home, learn new skills and invest my time in creativity than work extra hours to give the money away to a corporation. Buying from artists is a different story.  
  11. Don’t dismiss re-gifting gifts you don’t need or want anymore. I think this is a beautiful way of finding a second home for things that are collecting dust in your storage.
  12. Collecting wildflowers for tea or passing on seeds are also fantastic ideas for gifts.
  13. If you decide that neither of the above is a good idea, at least ensure you aren’t paying the full price for the items. Shop around; many retailers are feeling the pinch and have plenty of good discounts.

Not everything we gift to others has to be store-bought and/or mass-produced.

As you can see, there are ways to save money, while being creative about your Christmas gifting strategy. Don’t let the holiday season overwhelm you and leave you broke and anxious how to repay that consumer debt. If you start early and make smart choices, the Christmas gifts shopping/making can be fun.  

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