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7 Keys to Spending Less This Christmas

Are you tired of Christmas busting your budget? Are you looking for tips on spending less for Christmas?

I’m jumping on the band-wagon.

Everywhere I go I’m seeing Christmas stuff for sale from decor and cards to gifts and wrapping paper. So while I am content to enjoy Autumn and the many blessings of the season I want to offer you some tips for spending less this Christmas.

spending less christmas

Key #1 – Have A Realistic Budget

You should have a budget for Christmas.  In fact, I highly recommend having a separate budget envelope or category specifically for Christmas shopping.  If you haven’t been tucking back money all year for Christmas shopping you can still budget by person and available funds.  Those last two words are critical: available funds.  If you have $200.00 to spend for 6 people than you have $200.00.

Decide who you will buy for and how much you will spend.

Key #2 –  Ask for Gift Ideas

For those of you who like to surprise people this makes you cringe.  For those of us who haven’t a clue what to get people, like to be practical and want to ensure the recipient is happy, we love this.  It can work either way. If you’d prefer to get a surprise gift asking for ideas or suggestions can help get your mind working on what they might really like.  If you can’t or don’t want to ask, spend time observing what people say and what they like to do.  If someone is a minimalist who rides a bike to work a simple tire pump for $20 is way more realistic than a gift card to Pier One.

Key #3 – Research Before You Buy

This can be a busy time of year, I know. Most of us don’t have the luxury of running from store to store half was across the county to check prices.  But this handy thing we call the internet makes comparison shopping a bit more realistic.  Check prices online.

Key #4 – Unless You Have The Cash Don’t Open the Card

Brad bought me a stand mixer one year for our anniversary (yes, I was very happy about his choice of gift).  He got it a Kohl’s on sale and saved another whatever-percent by opening a Kohl’s credit card.  We paid off the card when the first statement came because he had the money to purchase the mixer.  He didn’t open the card as a means to afford the gift.  He opened the card as a method to complete the sale (and save a few extra bucks.)  He never used the card again.

Moral of the story – Credit Cards are not a method for affording purchase they are a means to complete a sale. Don’t have the money? Don’t make the purchase.

Key #5 – Don’t Shop With Your Emotions

I recently had my first Trader Joe’s experience.  To this gal, food shopping is the best thing EVER.  I walked in the store and I was overwhelmed. It might just as well have been a Macy’s in NYC at Christmas. In reality, the store was about the size of an A.C. Moore.  The excitement of being there could have easily taken over my well-planned out grocery list.

If you like to shop then you know what I mean.  You get in the store and there’s so much and it calls you name. But we can’t shop with our emotions just like we can’t eat with our emotions.  After you walk in, take a deep breath, let yourself be excited about the shopping you’ll be doing for a moment and then refocus on your list and your goal for that that store.  Ask the Lord to keep you focused and help you keep your emotions in check.

If you pick up an impulse buy do not be afraid to put it back (in the proper spot) or give it to the cashier.  They are not offended, they should not be made and the probably don’t really care.  They check out probably 100 people a day during this busy shopping season. They will not remember you next year for the two sweaters you decided you didn’t want at the register.  (I had to tell myself this several times.)

Key #6 – A List is Absolutely Necessary

To be successful in sticking to your budget and your plan you must make a list.  Even if you hate lists you really need to make one.  If you’re shopping all day and hitting various stores I suggest a list by store. Take a pen and even a clip board, yes a clip board, so you can make any notes on items you didn’t find at store A so you can look for them at store B and so on.  If you can get everything you need in one trip that means you will spend less time in stores which means less likelihood to overspend or buy things you really don’t need.

Key #7 – Remember What Christmas is Really About

All the other tips are great but none is better than remembering why we are celebrating Christmas in the first place.  Christmas is NOT about gifts and tinsel and trees.  It’s about remembering the birth of our Savior.  There’s not biblical mandate to celebrate His birth but I don’t see how remembering the beginning of the salvation plan can hurt us.  We have commercialized Christmas, we’ve turned it into a budget-busting, stressful season when really we should be celebrating the Peace that came when Jesus was born.  He is Peace on Earth, He is the greatest gift any of us could have been given.

No wrapped present can replicate the power that gift, but when we give a gift to someone, let’s remember that we are giving a gift in remembrance of The Gift we have received.  Give form your heart, after all, that’s what God did.

What your best tip for spending less this Christmas?

 

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Comments

  1. #7 is my favorite.
    All great advise.
    In our house gifts of time are treasured. Tickets to the movies or a promise to go hiking on such and such a date. Lives have become so busy. One on one time is a precious and often inexpensive gift.

  2. #1 and #7 are my favorites 🙂 We keep Christmas spending in check by having a four gifts rule
    One thing they read, wear, want & need for a total of four gifts… and if we can budget it in an extra special want 🙂

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