'Tis the season! With all these hot deals we have been posting, I have been spending quite a bit of money. Every Christmas we get into something called the "Holiday Cash Crunch" because we spend money on Christmas presents that we wouldn't have otherwise spent. Have you ever wondered how you could avoid the Holiday cash crunch? Well let me help you out! Here at Bargainmoose we are always looking for ways to save money, so I have put together a few simple steps to help you avoid getting too tight on money during the Holidays. I am the queen of procrastination and as we said goodbye to summer I told myself that I would grab a few gifts each month to spread out the spending a little bit. Well guess what? That didn't happen! Life gets the best of me and unexpected expenses occur like vet bills, plumbing repairs and more. So let's beat the Holiday cash crunch together, shall we?
Here are a few simple steps to avoid the cash crunch this Christmas:
Make Your List And Check It Twice
Don't get too carried away with this step, but you're going to make a simple list of everyone that you plan on purchasing a gift for this Holiday season. It will also help if you add two extra "random gifts" to your list because it is always better to over-budget, right? So after you have completed your list, add a random guy and a random gal. Someone always gets forgotten when you make a list, so check it twice.
Find Out Who's Naughty or Nice
After you've made your list of people you need to buy for this Holiday season, go down the list and dictate whether each person should get an individual gift or a family gift. For example, if John, Emma and Sally are in the same family then perhaps you can buy the a board game or something else for the entire family rather than buying for each individual person. That will cut your costs quite a bit.
Santa Claus is Coming
After you have decided which people will get individual gifts and which people will get family gifts, jot down a few things that each person likes. For example, Suzy love crafting and Hannah loves clothes. This will help you to keep an eye out for items that will interest them. Your best bet is to keep your eyes peeled for hot sales and deals for each individual of course.
Decide On Amounts
Now this is the hardest part. How much should you spend on each person? I try to limit myself to $20 per person, but if I can make something for cheaper then I definitely go that route. Obviously I spend a little bit more on my kiddo and immediate family. For more distance friends and relatives we usually give them a goodie bag of mixed baked goods I make the week before Christmas. Everyone loves cookies and they cost very little to make. I also feel like I pour a little more love into them. We also make our own Christmas cards which cuts down costs and adds a nice personal touch to each gift. When adding amounts for each person, be as realistic as you possibly can. Neighbour Sally does not need a $50 gift,but your parents might. Another big part of avoiding the Holiday Crunch is making sure you don't buy any gifts on your credit card! Interest rates accumulate like crazy, and we don't want you to feel overwhelmed during the months that follow Christmas.
By the time you are done those steps, you should have a simple list that looks a little something like this:
- Andrew -> Individual Gift -> Video games, clothing, chocolate -> $20 -> Gift: $15 EB Games gift card & box of cookies/goodies
- Karen, Bill, Christoper -> Family Gift -> Games, Cards, Movies -> $20 -> Gift: Family Feud Board Game on clearance for $9 @ Walmart.ca & box of cookies/goodies
- and so on
If you want this list to be even easier to read, you can fill it out in a chart form. Excel is awesome for that, or if you are creative enough you can draw your own. The trick to saving money with this project is by starting early and hunting for the best deals on the gifts you have in mind. It is only November 1st, so you still have almost two entire months to get your shopping done and hunt for great bargains. Also be sure to subscribe to our Bargainmoose e-newsletter so you can keep your eyes peeled for items that suit your list.
Moosers, how do you avoid the Holiday cash crunch?