Even if it’s at the last minute, it’s not too late to put these Christmas shopping and money tips to work! Here, “The Money Couple” offer seven ways to get your Christmas gift list under control without spending a whole boatload of money.
The holiday season doesn’t have to bring heavy credit card bills or financial stress – that’s definitely not a good way to start the New Year.
“We find that regardless of a couples’ income, holiday spending can quickly become a battlefield,” say Scott and Bethany Palmer — the Money Couple. “One of you spends too much, one of you spends too little. Someone splurges when they should have skimped, someone saves when they should have shopped.”
How to Save Money on Christmas Shopping
The key to making it through the holidays with your sanity — and your budget — intact is to talk through those expectations and make a plan for how you will deal with money during the holiday season. Here are a few tips…
1. Talk about Christmas shopping and spending limits before you go to the mall. Don’t wait until you’re on your way to the mall to talk about how much you can spend. Take an afternoon or an evening to sit down with your finances and talk about how much money you can afford to spend this year. Know what you can do and plan accordingly.
2. Cut your Christmas gift list. Take an honest look at your gift list. How many of those gifts do you buy out of obligation? If you’ve got a limited budget for gifts, don’t feel like you have to go all out on co-workers or distant relatives. Are there people who would be just as happy with a card or a homemade treat? Remember, it really is the thought that counts.
3. Set a dollar limit for each Christmas gift. Again, do this at home, with a realistic picture of your finances in front of you. Do some research to find the best deals before you hit the stores or order something online. If you’re doing your Christmas shopping online, use Web sites such as PriceGrabber.com can help you compare prices for all kinds of items.) Know what things actually cost so your gift budget reflects reality.
4. Share the Christmas shopping. If one person has to find all the gifts on your list, he or she is bound to get tired. And that’s when overspending can cut through all your good intentions. A smart Christmas shopping and saving tip is to divvy up your gift list or make a date out of finding meaningful presents for the people you love.
5. Get creative with your Christmas gift shopping. If you have a big family, consider a few group gifts. Maybe you and your siblings can pitch in on one great present for your parents or all the cousins can contribute to a special holiday gift for Grandma and Grandpa. Draw names so each person only needs to buy one gift. Decide to give only handmade gifts.
6. Give a cow for Christmas! Consider a charitable donation to an organization such as World Vision where you can purchase a cow, a goat, school supplies, vegetable seeds, or other goods that will change the life of a third-world family. At Kiva.org, a $25 gift helps fund microloans for small businesses in impoverished areas of the world.
7. Check in with each other as a couple. Plan on one or two conversations a week to make sure you’re staying on track with your Christmas spending. Make adjustments as needed. With a little planning and plenty of clear financial communication, you can make sure that the only surprises this season are under your tree!
For more info about the Palmers, visit The Money Couple – they also contributed How to Spend Less at Christmas – Money Tips for Couples, here on Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals.