6 Ways to Save Money on Holiday Gift-giving

As much as I enjoy the holiday season, I’ll admit that it’s one of the busiest, sometimes stressful, and most expensive times of the year. My to-do list seems never-ending, and my schedule is packed with visits, events, and gatherings to attend. While I try to budget for these things ahead of time, there is an obvious toll that everything takes on my bank account. To help balance that out, I try to be thrifty when I can, and the easiest way for me to do that is in the gift-giving department. I know it’s hardly necessary, but I enjoy giving gifts, however small they may be, in order to show a little thoughtfulness to those I care most about. There are a number of ways you can do this and still save money. Check out a few ideas below!

1. DIY. Nothing is more thoughtful than a homemade gift! A lot of times, you can create things with items you already have in your home, or with materials that can be purchased for cheap at your local craft store (save even more by checking for coupons first!). Pinterest is full of ideas to help you get started, no matter what your budget is. Another favorite I like to give is homemade baked goods. I like to fill up festive tins (found for $1-2 at the Dollar Store) and pass them out to friends and family.

2. Set a limit. If you’ll be exchanging gifts with friends or family, agree to a spending limit beforehand within your budget. Others are typically understanding of spending limits, because they’re likely in the same tight spot. It’s not the price of the gift that matters, but the thought.

3. Have a gift exchange. Instead of buying gifts for everyone on your list, have a gift exchange where everyone draws a name and buys for just one person. This could even allow you to spend a little more if you like, since you won’t be shopping for as many people. This is also a great way to conserve the holiday funds you’ve been saving.

4. Shop the sales. I like to think of what I’ll be buying for others months in advance so I have time to scope out deals before the holidays arrive. Checking out prices beforehand helps me to figure out how much I should budget for spending, and it also allows me to shop around for the lowest price. I always double-check when sales roll around to see if it’s the right time to buy, or if I can get a better deal for using a coupon.

5. Consider alternatives. Instead of buying gifts that might not be necessary, consider other options. You might agree to use the money you and your significant other would have spent on something more worthwhile, like a future trip together or a night out. It might seem boring, but you could even use that money for things you really need (ask my husband about the office curtains he got for his 30th birthday).

6. Do your research. If you’re shopping for a group, ask about what people really want or need before spending money on something they might not use, or even like for that matter, which is ultimately a waste (this is especially smart when it comes to shopping for children). It’s also a great idea to chip in for more expensive gifts others might be hoping for, which gives others what they really want while not breaking the bank for everyone else.

How do you save more during the holiday season? Do you still find ways to give gifts or show others that you’re thinking of them?