$1000; that’s the amount of added debt people accrue because of Christmas purchases. While that number can change from year to year, it’s still significant debt. When paying the minimum payment on your credit cards, it can take up to ten years to pay off that kind of debt and nearly 50% off families admit they’re concerned about accumulating extensive debt this holiday season. However, most families consider it a necessary evil to accrue debt this time of year as they want to provide a good Christmas for their kids and other family members.
There are ways to keep costs down at Christmas time and none of them involve crafting your own gifts, although that is a viable alternative. If you have a talent, by all means, use it for your Christmas gifts. People love to receive handmade items, especially useful items like hats, scarves, sweaters, and mittens. However, if you don’t have a crafting bone in your body or you don’t have the extra time to create your Christmas gifts, there are still a lot of ways to make sure you’re not breaking your budget to create a great Christmas for your kids.
Tips and Tricks for Christmas Giving
- Black Friday – If you’re a Black Friday shopper, then you already know the deals that are available. One thing that they focus on when listing the items for sale is what people want. They track stuff like that and they discount what people are shopping for. If you want to give the hubby a new TV for Christmas, then Black Friday or Cyber Monday are the days to buy it. Many stores offer incredible deep discounts on electronics of all kinds, so if the kids are begging for a video game system, then this is also the day.
- App Deals – If you use apps to get the best deals on a day to day basis, then keep track of what’s going on around the holidays as many stores, like Target’s Cartwheel app for example, start offering huge discounts on a random array of products. If you’re shopping for your family or simply for yourself, keep an eye on your favorite apps for the best deals. Last year, Target put one toy a day on sale for 50% off between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Keep your eyes open, your child’s number one request just may end up on that list.
- Shop Around – Look around before you buy something and when you do, find a store that offers price matching. With a price matching program, you can get the items you want for the lowest possible price. Did you find something you want at Walmart, but have a Best Buy credit card? Best Buy is one of the many stores that offer price match benefits, so make sure you look around for the best deal, and when you find it, take notes. By shopping around, you’ll not only ensure that you get the best price, but you’ll also get to see what else is out there.
- Circulars – Look at the circular ads in the local paper each week and jot down the deals on the items you’re look for. Circular deals typically last for a week and the deals tend to be great during this time of year, especially for toys, games, and electronics. Keep an eye out for when your local stores offer stock-up and save deals on things like jammies and winter clothes and shop then for the best deals on necessities.
- Gift Cards – It’s a little too late to start this year, but if you buy a gift card with every paycheck during the year, you’ll have them during the shopping season to go toward your Christmas spending. You’ll notice the loss of money a lot less if you spread it out over the year than if you try to do it all at once. Buy the cards for places you know you’ll be shopping for your Christmas gifts and even if it doesn’t cover the entire cost, at least it will take a good chunk out of it. If you’re a gift card giver during the holiday season, your Christmas shopping is done after just a couple of months.
There are a lot of ways to save money during the holiday season, but the best way is to communicate with your family the reason for the season. Don’t go overboard with gifts and rather celebrate the togetherness of your family and the joy of the holiday itself.