Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Saving Money For Christmas

From a reader:

Hello there. I had a question about Christmas. How do you save money to pay for gifts and do you have any frugal tips?  I have a large family and am really dreading Christmas this year and I don't want to feel that way.  Any ideas would be great. Thanks, Amber.

Hey, Amber!  It's really easy to get bummed and frustrated at Christmastime.  But you have to remember what the season is really about.  Everyone knows that we are in a very strained economy and that everyone is cutting corners when they can.  Don't stress too much over buying big gifts.  There's no use in putting yourself in debt over gift giving.  Set a budget for yourself.  Look at your finances and see what you can really afford.  Buy what you can and don't break your budget!  Get out and look around you're bound to find great deals.

As for myself, I use the money I get from surveys and Swagbucks to buy Christmas gifts.  I set the money aside and only use it for Christmas gifts.  I also buy Christmas gifts all year long.  When I find a great deal I snatch it up and put it away - like when I hit the 75% off Toy Clearance at Target.  When I get home I take the money I had in my Christmas fund and put it back in my account.  I, too, have a large family and it gets overwhelming when you have lots of people to pay for. We're living on one steady income and funds are limited.  Family should understand that.

 To limit spending ask if everyone is ok with drawing names.  We do it in our family and sometimes we don't even buy gifts, we just get together and have dinner.  We provide really small gifts for the children and give them crafts to do.  You can get lots of great craft stuff for cheap from Oriental Trading Company.  I also suggest stocking up on wrapping paper, bags and other supplies after Christmas.  It's much better to pay $1.25 for a roll of wrapping paper while it's on sale instead of waiting until next year and paying $5 for it.  Stuff it away - just don't be like me and forget where you put it.  ;o)

When shopping online always check for coupon codes and shop through Ebates or ShopatHome to get cash back.  Every little bit helps. 

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