Spend Less This Holiday Season!

If you are looking at how to save money shopping for Christmas, you have tons of ideas at your disposal.  I have personally used many of these methods in the past and with great results.  In this article, I’d like to show you how to take some of the holiday stress out of your life.  Finances and budgets get strained every year during the holidays.  Don’t let it get you down and never, ever pull out the credit card to pay for Christmas at your house.  Shop smart this season.

Buy All Year – The Smart Way!

You’ve seen all sorts of clearance sales on clothing, toys, and other various items that seem like they’d be great for Christmas, right?  Take advantage of the savings.  This is the most important thing you can do to really save money on Christmas shopping.  Here are some additional tips to keep in mind.

  • Avoid Trends:  Don’t buy the clothing with the newest summer movie on it for the holidays and don’t buy toys that will be obsolete when the time comes to give them.  Instead, choose evergreen toys and clothing.  Toy cars and trucks, Barbie Dolls, clearance winter clothing (bought in the spring of course), and most games are great ideas. 
  • Learn Store Markdown Days:  My local Wal-Mart sends the employees out to mark down items on Tuesdays.  I know this, so I visit the clearance racks on Tuesday mornings whenever I can.
  • September and October are HOT-HOT-HOT:  The weather cools off outside, but the deals and clearance sales in the retail stores heats up.  National chains have to set their aisles according to national headquarter plans.  This means they are frantic to unload the old merchandise to make room for the new, seasonal toys and promotions.  This is the single best timeframe for saving money Christmas shopping.
  • Shop a Season Behind:  Buy summer clothes in the fall, winter clothes in the spring, and keep one step ahead.  If you buy clothing, be sure to take sizing into account.
  • Store Christmas Gifts:  Dedicate a hidden area, where the kids won’t find them, to holiday gift storage.  If you have nieces and nephews, sons and daughters or grandchildren, store them in a place they won’t look.  Make a stockpile, spending a little here and there when you see great deals.

Day After Sales

The day after Christmas, every store in the area is desperately trying to get rid of their leftover items.  Take this advantage to save money shopping.  Best of all, you can sometimes buy items for 90% off if you wait a couple of weeks.  You’ll have a great assortment of holiday items to give out as gifts, use for decorating, or show off the next season.

About Black Friday

Black Friday isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  That said, you can find some really good deals on electronics, toys, apparel, decorations, housewares, and just about anything else you can imagine.  Battling crowds isn’t my idea of fun, but some people really do enjoy it.  You will find some good bargains, if you haven’t been shopping all year or want to get the latest trendy items.  Personally, I think Black Friday isn’t what it once was.  Many stores offer better sales as the holidays approach. 

Black Monday

This is just the online version of Black Friday.  Many retailers offer great deals the Monday after Thanksgiving, often with free shipping, deep discounts, and no-wait shopping.  It’s convenient and gives you chance to save money on Christmas shopping for the hottest items, especially electronics.

Celebrate Late

Are you most buying for adults?  Does the extended family get together for the holidays?  If so, celebrate after the holidays are over.  You’ll find that it’s easier to navigate the stores and the prices are much more favorable.  Plus, you can buy actual Christmas decorations, ornaments, and supplies at clearance discounts.

Homemade Gift Exchange

I guess this isn’t necessarily a way to save money on Christmas shopping as it is just a general way to cut the expenses, but it will still work out.  Rather than have children buy for their siblings or parents (with funds generally donated by the parents), have them make a gift to exchange.

Gift Donation to Charity

Make one of the gifts you give to your kids come early, but with a twist.   Talk to them about the importance of helping out those less fortunate and ask them to relinquish one gift this year, to give to someone less fortunate.  Make the donation before the holiday, so it gets in the hands of the needy families with low income.  Make one of their presents under the tree a thank you note for doing this.  You’ll also get a nice little tax deduction.  If you yourself are needy, explore the charities that give holiday help to low income families.

Ban Credit Card Use

I don’t care what you have to do – don’t charge.  Sell off some unwanted items, start a savings account, work a second job if you have to, but don’t ever charge presents.  You’ll pay way more than you should once interest is tacked on and you’ll likely still be paying for them next Christmas.  This is not the way to save money on shopping.

Be Budget Conscious

Many families set a budget, but few actually stick to them.  Make a realistic budget of what you can afford to spend on your children, and anyone else you have to buy for.  Encourage family members to set limits (or draw names) for family get-togethers.  Mandate that nobody goes over budget, so it doesn’t turn into a showoff contest.

Make Lists

Not only should you have a budget written down, but also a list of all the people you have to buy gifts for.  This will allow you time to look for sales on items for each person on the list.  Do you really need to buy for your uncle’s ex-wife, or will a card suffice?  Don’t be a scrooge, but don’t insist on spreading cheer to every person you only see once a year.

These are only some of the methods you should consider as you look at how to save money Christmas shopping this year.