Hi hi hi!
I hope you guys enjoyed some of the gift guides that I have posted! Today, I wanted to take some time to talk about Christmas shopping on a budget. Ever since moving, I have been on a pretty strict budget. I no longer have the ability to spend like I used to during the holiday season, but I have made it work and not to mention it’s also been stress free!
This year, I actually ended up having to pick up more presents than I had originally anticipated because I have family coming in for the holidays. When I first figured out how many of my cousins I would be buying presents for, I freaked out because it was a whopping 10 cousins! I know it doesn’t seem like a lot to some, but if I’m spending $20 on each cousin, that’s $200 and on a tight budget, it’s a lot of money going towards one group of people. However, like I had mention above, this year’s holiday shopping hasn’t left me extremely stressed out. Here are my tips:
- Plan Early: I actually began organizing my Christmas list back in October. I wrote down everyone that I was planning to give a gift to and the amount I budgeted for them and added up the total. It was scary when I saw the total amount of money that I was spending, but I knew that if I split up who I was getting with certain paychecks it’d be easier (see example below). By setting it up this way and splitting the presents between paychecks, I’m not spending a huge amount at one time.
- Be Cut Throat: What you see above isn’t my full list of people, but when it comes to making your list, be cut throat with the people you put on it. Don’t feel compelled to put someone that you only talk to 3 times a year on your list, or a family friend that you never talk to just because it’s a family friend. There are a few requirements that I have for someone to end up on my list:
- How close am I to them?
- How often do I see them?
- How close are we (as a friend/family)?
- Who do I want to show gratitude to?
By creating your list this way, you’ll find yourself cutting out a lot of people and realizing that not
everyone in your life needs to have a gift.
- Browse Early and Keep In Your Cart: I know we all hate receiving emails from stores that we have created an account with, but during the holiday season it helps a lot to have an account. Like I had mentioned above, I created my list in October, so that’s when I began browsing sites like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Sephora, Ulta, etc. I have an account for every single one of these stores, so naturally I started to put items in my cart that I thought would make a great present for someone on my list. Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, some of these websites had really great deals going on, so once I got the email, I just logged into my account, put a code in (if necessary), and purchased what I needed.
- Ebates: I know I have mentioned this over and over again, but I swear by Ebates. If you do a lot of online shopping (like me), you need to sign up for an Ebates account. Once you sign up for Ebates, getting cash back is easy! Personally, I do a lot of the shopping on my phone, so I downloaded the Ebates app. Once you’ve downloaded it and signed in, quickly search for the store you’re planning on shopping at and see what percentage of cash back they offer; if they don’t offer any cash back, you can still view the coupons that they have available at the time. If the store you want to shop at does have a cashback offer, simply tap “shop” and it will redirect you to the website and you can go ahead and shop like you usually do. If you do a lot of online shopping on the computer, you can simply add-on a widget, so as you browse different websites, it will let you know that there is a cashback opportunity that you can simply activate.
- Stick To Your Budget: As tough as it can be, when you are working with a limited budget in general, you need to stick with the budget that you set yourself. When I created my list and started assigning amounts to everyone, I went ahead and estimated on the high side, that way if I actually ended up spending that amount, I wouldn’t be surprised. If you end up going under your budget, hey, it’s a win for you.
- Quality Over Quantity: I’m not sure why, but for some reason, I have a stigma when it comes to giving gifts; in my mind, the gift needs to be large and extravagant, but this year, I decided to really think about the gifts that I was picking up. I wanted to be sure that it was usable, and not just something that’s pretty/cute. This was the first time I really thought about each person’s present, and I’m actually more satisfied with the presents that I picked up this year than any other year!
I hope that this helps you – I know I should have posted this a bit earlier, but I truly believe that following these guidelines can help during the whole year, especially for birthdays. Let me know what you do to save money during the busy holiday season in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to follow my blog and Instagram (@ciaociao808) to be notified when the next gift guide goes up!