Christmas is the time of year when we exchange gifts with our friends and loved ones but its also the time of year that makes our wallets and bank accounts cringe at the costs. Inevitably we overspend and in the end we’ll put it on our credit cards and pay for the holidays for a years to come. A big purchase on a credit card is like a gift that keeps on giving, unfortunately it gives us stress and credit card companies record profits. So I thought I would share a short list of ways to save on Christmas gifts, this is a list that I’ve used myself in the past so I know they work;
- Have a list when you’re shopping (aka plan ahead)
- A gift doesn’t have to be expensive
- Make a gift
- Offer a service
Have a list when you’re shopping
This one is a bit of a no brainer; it’s been proven that if you go grocery shopping on an empty stomach you buy more food. Its no different when you’re shopping for Christmas gifts, if you don’t know what you’re getting you will get suckered into buying more random items that are poorly thought out.
With a list you can go to the mall or the store and get exactly what you need without browsing around or going to too many stores. One Christmas I took care of all my gifts in one day at the mall (I think I did it in about 2 hours including the battle for a parking spot).
Also planning ahead will mean you’ll put some effort into thinking up ideas; the gifts will be better received by the people you’re giving them to. Remember if you don’t have any ideas just ask the people, its better to give them something they want than a piece of crap they’ll throw out.
Gifts don’t have to be Expensive
I’m not sure where this originated from but some people equate big gifts with love and caring. This is bullshit! Trust me I’d be happier with a $10 gift from my wife where she really thought about it and put some effort into what she got me than say a $100 bottle of fancy cologne. Expensive gifts can be nice but unless you have a lot of money they all too often end up on credit; making the credit card companies richer.
Make a Gift
When you tell someone to make a gift they roll their eyes or tell you they’re not good at this that or the other. Most of us have some form of hobby or activity we’re good at and taking the effor to make a gift for someone will really light up their faces and they’ll treasure the gift far more than if you bought them something very expensive.
I’ve done this a few times in the past where I painted a painting (a hobby I dabble in); in each case those paintings are still on the walls of their houses. In one case a friend of mine actually mounted this painting with a special light. People treasure these types of gifts more than gadgets or trinkets.
Remember if all else fails bake something – again people will appreciate it more than a piece of junk they’ll need to figure out what to do with. The beauty of making a gift is its usually a lot cheaper than buying one.
Offer a Service
As a parent getting a card with a short note that says whenever my wife and I want a night to ourselves babysitting is taken care of is more valuable than some mug or trinket. We’ve received these types of gifts before and you’re letting people have an experience or enjoy a part of their life which they might not get a chance to very often.
It doesn’t have to be babysitting it could be anything from a back rub to helping clean out gutters to fixing an old computer. Get creative!
It’s the thought that counts not the price tag of a gift! If you can leave the credit card at home and put a little thought into Christmas this year. You might be surprised you’ll enjoy it more.