Don’t let Christmas get you into debt. While it’s fun to purchase everyone you know a cool gift, and it is wonderful to see people’s eyes light up in appreciation, it’s not so great to see the pile of bills in January.
There are still ways to provide gifts for all of your loved ones without putting yourself in the poor house.
Here are some ideas for ways to have a frugal but merry Christmas this year…
Send Christmas cards.
It seems that over the last few decades, people have spent less on cards and sentimental notes and more on toys and gadgets. There is a much better chance of a recipient saving a heartfelt handwritten note than remembering the candle you bought them last year.
Suggest a white elephant gift exchange among your group of friends or co-workers.
I once participated in a re-gift white elephant exchange where we used items that had been given to us in previous Christmases and items that we didn’t like or use. My gift was so bad that no one would believe that someone had given me such a thing… but they had. In the end, someone in the group liked it, and I walked away with something I could use. (The only caveat is you’ll want to make sure that the person who gave you the gift is not in the group you are doing the exchange with!)
Here are 48 more ways to celebrate Christmas without going broke from BeingFrugal.net.
GetRichSlowly.org suggests setting a holiday budget of $100 and buying for everyone on your list from that budget. Of course, this means most people will get $5 gifts, but if you make agreements with your friends and loved ones to limit gift costs to $5, then it will become a fun challenge for all.
They also suggest giving gifts only to children. This is something I have done for years. It takes the pressure off worrying about the expectations of adults at Christmas time. Besides, children are far less discriminating and chances are they will love a $10 gift a lot more than a $40 gift — if you choose carefully.
There are even more ways to keep a cap on your Christmas costs this year. Some ideas include giving baked gifts, savings bonds, and gifts that do not require batteries, but require imagination instead.
Perhaps frugality is a gift within itself. Case in point: one shopper has gone from spending $1500 for Christmas to $200. By employing ideas from bargain hunting and clearance sales to using a bit of elbow grease to refinish furniture, she has put more of her heart into the holidays and less of her wallet.
It seems to me that the more heart you put into your gift giving, the less it will cost you financially.
I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.