If you’re in the process of preparing for your Christmas spending, the list of upcoming purchases and expenses can feel overwhelming. Even when you save in advance and plan a careful budget, it can be difficult to avoid wasteful or excessive spending during this season. However, if you can make some simple changes to your Christmas routine and eliminate the unnecessary add-ons, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars. Think twice before you pay for these Christmas extras to help keep your budget and your holiday happy.
Sending Christmas Cards
This holiday tradition may not seem like much of a money pit, but between overpriced holiday stationary and expensive postage, it can be incredibly costly to mail a greeting card that will just be tossed soon after. If you absolutely have to give a card, print your own at home and hand-deliver it. Many websites offer beautiful designs that you can customize for a personalized touch and print for free. For those who live out of town, send an email or e-card instead. It cuts back on waste, and you can deliver them instantly 24 hours a day. It’s a great way to stay connected and share photos without printing them as well.
Purchasing Pricey Gifts
Christmas seems like the perfect excuse to give extravagant gifts. If you’ve saved and planned for large purchases, it’s certainly OK to give big. However, many people feel compelled to spend a certain dollar amount regardless of the relationship to the recipient. Instead of focusing on what you can get for a certain price, focus on the quality and content of the gift instead. Handmade or inexpensive options can be just as appreciated and enjoyed as an overpriced alternative. It really is true what they say: It’s the thought that counts.
Overbuying at Black Friday Sales
Black Friday is the ideal opportunity to score some serious deals on your Christmas shopping. However, it’s often tempting to buy way more than you need because of the draw of the deal. Don’t purchase a gift because it’s an amazing price if it’s still over budget. Stick to your plan and enjoy the bonus savings where you can. Also, make sure you do your research first. Some electronic bargains are actually simplified versions of the original, so you’re still only getting what you pay for.
Accumulating Debt by Opening Store Credit
Almost everywhere you shop, they’ll invite you to save an additional 20% or more by opening a store credit card. While it may be tempting, the interest and fees will almost certainly come back to bite you in the end. You’ll also create another easy way to accumulate debt. Do yourself and your budget a favor and just say, “no thanks.”
Paying for Rush Shipping on Your Online Orders
If you’re a last-minute shopper, it’s time to change your ways. Purchasing things too close to Christmas will rack up extra costs in rush shipping fees. Many companies can’t (or won’t) make the same speedy guarantees as normal during the busy holiday season. This can be due to high demand or a simple profit strategy. Either way, you can avoid the stress and the cost by buying ahead of time. Make it your goal to finish all online shopping by the first of December if you have a strict deadline.
Adding on Extra Warranties
If you’re making a major purchase, such as an expensive power tool or home appliance, it might be wise to look at warranty options. However, most stores or companies will replace any item or refund your money as long as you register your purchase and hold on to your receipt. It’s pretty shocking the types of items that try to sell additional warranties. Skip this unnecessary step and just keep a record of your purchase instead.
Choosing Deluxe Gift Wrap
When you make your Christmas budget, don’t forget to include wrapping paper and supplies. However, you should be smart about where you purchase these items. Buying in bulk is often the best option, or you can hit up your local dollar store for a variety of cheap designs. While it may be tempting to create a designer look with expensive paper and tags, remember that they’ll just end up in the trash soon afterward. Those are Christmas extras that the kids likely won’t remember. Save your money for other things and keep the wrapping cheap. Purchase solid colors or patterns that can work year-round to make your purchase even more practical.
Going Overboard on Stockings
Stockings are a fun tradition that many families enjoy each year. However, this Christmas activity can get out of control very quickly, especially since you’ll likely need to fill them for multiple people. Remember that tiny gifts aren’t necessarily cheaper. To cut back, purchase smaller stockings that require less to fill. Including these items in your budget may just help draw more attention to Christmas extras.
When you cut back on the unnecessary extras, you can be more successful at sticking with your Christmas budget. For even more ways to save and prepare for the future, get pre-approved for a loan that can help you enjoy more financial stability year-round.