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It's Life

Don’t let the holidays put you in the poor house

December 1, 2017

Ahhhh its that time again. The time where people spend their money and buy things. It’s that time when sales look good, stores are trying to get rid of things, and bonuses from your job are right on time. For those of us who have to watch every penny how do we not go broke during the holiday season?

Have a real budget

So you say you are going to spend only $1,000 for the holidays. That’s it….nothing extra. That $1,000 has to stretch for your entire family, friends, and others who you want to give to during the holiday season. Don’t depend on a bonus check and don’t use credit cards. Try to have a real budget and stick to it no matter what. If you do get a bonus use that money towards paying down student loans or something else that needs to be paid. My actual budget every year is $250 for each child. The hubs and I didn’t exchange gifts during the holidays we made it about the kids so my actual budget is $500 give or take a few. I do not go significantly over my budget at all. I have a plan and I know what I need to get early on. If my hubs family decides to exchange name and it goes over my budget I politely decline. Make sure whatever your budget is….it’s cash and not credit. Now that the hubs is gone my budget is still $250 for each child and I stick to that!

Find cheap gifts

Easier said than done but it can be done. Look for coupons and discounts everywhere. Think outside the box and shop around and do something nice. I have a friend who loves beauty so I went around to various places that have the dollar bin in the beauty section. I grab a bunch of stuff and put it in a nice basket or jar for her and she loves it. Pay someone to take photos of a family that is in need of updated photos. I had a guy contact me to take photos of his mother and he is going to take the photos and do a memory book for her for the holidays. The total cost of the gift will only be $75 and that included the photos with me. Go to Groupon and get something nice for someone. There are many ways to find discounted gifts that don’t break your budget and doesn’t look cheap

Give the gift of time

Like the above this is free. Give someone a homemade coupon for a free night of babysitting. Go help a friend volunteer at a homeless shelter. If you are good at organizing offer your time to organize someone’s closet or kitchen. If you are good at cooking offer to cook a weeknight meal on a busy night for someone. Time is free and to me it is more valuable than any gift you can give me. A free night alone while you babysit my kids….where do I sign up.

Travel off peak

I know that people travel during the holidays. Travel someplace that most people won’t even think about traveling to someplace odd and not really a holiday destination. This saves you money. Travel early in December to save money and make it an early Christmas. Start your own tradition of having Christmas with your parents (if you live out of state) on the first weekend of Dec. Travel is cheaper and there isn’t a lot of hustle and bustle going on. If I do travel I go by car and I drive my own car during the holidays (although I do like to rent I save money and only drive my car during the holiday season) I stay with family and friends so I won’t have to pay for a hotel. If traveling is beyond your means, offer to play host and invite your family to you for the holidays. Sometimes people are waiting on you to make the first move.

Layaway or use QVC

I am the queen of layaway and yes it still exists some places. That’s how my mom was able to give me a nice Christmas every year. She did layaway and my Christmas was always nice. If no one does layaway near you you can always order and pay on time with QVC. QVC is my go to place for things I want now. You do have to pay monthly for QVC and I have never had a problem with them. The key is to remember when they will take out every month because if you keep only a few dollars in your account at a time then you are liable to have a negative balance often. I put the date on my google calendar for the months that it will take out and I always put it a few days ahead of takeout time so I have enough time to move money if I need too.

Buy early and save as much as you can. If you can’t afford things be up front in the beginning. I never buy my kids everything they want. They get one item on the list that I can afford and that’s it.

What are your tips for saving money during the holiday? 

  • Reply
    Alli Smith
    December 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    My husband and I set aside a budget every year and I spend the same amount on the kids and the budget is a little larger for the grandkids and I usually end up spending more on the grandkids. I always pay cash and I always save money for the holidays. I never use a credit card to buy gifts,

  • Reply
    Amber Myers
    December 1, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    These are some great ideas. I usually always buy gifts on sale! I hate to pay full price for anything. We won’t be traveling for a while so that’ll save money too.

  • Reply
    Tomi C
    December 1, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Great tips! I try to buy early and ALWAYS on sale. I signed up with some companies and earn gift cards throughout the year that I use to buy gifts. Really helps keep more of my hard earned money in my pockets.

  • Reply
    Tessa
    December 1, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    These are some great tips. I love giving so I tend to spend a lot around the holidays. I really should use these tips so January isnt so tough on me anymore.

  • Reply
    candy
    December 1, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Having a real budget is key. Set a limit to presents and don’t go over boards like some people do. Giving time is a wonderful gift.

  • Reply
    Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh
    December 1, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    We used to use credit cards every year for the holidays. The last couple of years though I have made sure we use cash. It’s been a huge help at keeping us on budget.

  • Reply
    Sue Reddel
    December 2, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Keeping to a budget is key. We love doing family get-togethers and game nights. We’d much rather spend time with our loved ones then spending money on things nobody really needs or wants.

  • Reply
    Pam
    December 2, 2017 at 1:04 am

    These are great tips for the holidays. It can be easy for people to go overboard for the holidays.

  • Reply
    Heather @ Kraus House Mom
    December 2, 2017 at 1:11 am

    My kids get one big gift and two smaller gifts from Santa and then stuff in their stocking. The clothes are from my husband and me. We get the majority of the family calendars with the kids’ pictures which are pretty cheap to have made.

  • Reply
    Jenn @ EngineerMommy
    December 2, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Spending a lot of money during the holidays is a real issue for so many people. I try to set a budget and then stick to it. OTherwise it can be all too easy to overspend.

  • Reply
    Anosa
    December 2, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    I have always spent a fortune at christmas time and have wanted to get the best presents I could for everyone but this year I have scaled back. I have bought things throughout the year and have reduced the people that I buy for. My husband and I don’t very often exchange gifts because we need the money for others things. I think sometimes it is easy to get carried away and try to make the perfect christmas and loose sight of what it is actually about.

  • Reply
    Chubskulit Rose
    December 2, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Holiday can really put a hole in your pocket if you don’t plan it well. These are very good tips to look out for.

  • Reply
    Karissa
    December 3, 2017 at 3:08 am

    Amen!! It is so important to be smart with your money especially around the holidays when things can get so out of hand! I am all about being smart with cash.

  • Reply
    Amy
    December 3, 2017 at 4:15 am

    We try to set aside a budget for the kids gifts every year. We decide it in the beginning of the year – and I shop through out the year for gifts. That way I can get the most for my money.

  • Reply
    Bohemian Babushka
    December 3, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Babushka buys throughout the year, so by holiday time it’s all basically bought. Glad you added QVC to the list; didn’t know they did that. BB2U

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    December 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Great tips! I buy gifts year round so that I don’t have to scrounge for money during the holidays. Setting a budget is key!!! I also love gifting experiences, much more memorable in my opinion

  • Reply
    Our Family World
    December 4, 2017 at 1:17 am

    My Christmas list is ready in July and I start buying gifts in August. It makes it easier for me and less stressful if I go this route. Plus of course it does not hurt my bank account that much. 🙂

  • Reply
    Natasha
    December 4, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Your post title had me letting out a LONG AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMEN! We’re making gifts here, or even re-purposing items that are still brand new that we know we won’t be using, but could get more love from someone else. Also, I start my Christmas handmade countdown early in the year, because sewing takes SO MUCH TIME!

  • Reply
    Kemkem
    December 4, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    I think it’s essential to let common sense rule the day. It’s so easy to get carried away with the crap you see on television. Some of the gifts are outrageously expensive. Think carefully about who you’re giving gifts to, be selective and then find affordable gifts. It should be useful and come from the heart.

  • Reply
    Nellie
    December 4, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    I love QVC! I mainly buy kitchen stuff from them because they have the best stuff! This is very true. We don’t have a big budget for the kids since the family and friends give them SO much. Holidays yes, it’s about gifts but that is not my main purpose.

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    December 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Great tips on saving for Christmas and not going broke. I learned that if you can’t give a lot of gifts to create small budgets. Finding ways to be creative is a fun and great for gift giving. Saves a lot of money!

  • Reply
    Tisha
    December 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    The gift of time has always been my favourite lmao! Thankfully my family understand my broke uni student status and my friends are all in the same position so we place more importance on birthday gifts than Christmas; but even besides that, being away from home for so long makes my time that much more valuable!
    Great tips!

  • Reply
    Keisha
    December 4, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    If this isn’t the truth! People go into serious debt in the name of Christmas I just don’t get it. I do get the importance of families getting together during this time of year but the rest I can’t relate. These are really good tips. Budgeting is key when it comes to any type of spending. I’m thinking of starting a Kwanza tradition at my house this year so we will see how that goes. Even with that there’s gifts involved *insert eye roll* lol

  • Reply
    Stacie
    December 5, 2017 at 2:40 am

    I’m a firm believer in staying in budget. I have a set budget per kid and I refuse to use a credit card.

  • Reply
    Carissa
    December 5, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    We are big believers in Layaway! Surprisingly this year we didn’t use it for Christmas but I always use it around Back to School time, it helps us stay on budget and not go overboard!

  • Reply
    Tonia
    December 6, 2017 at 3:38 am

    Great advice. Traveling off peak is major. You can save up to 75% off, maybe more depending on the deals. It’s crazy to pay full price.

  • Reply
    Elle (CleverlyChanging)
    December 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    I have a confession. I have never used layaway. I just don’t have the patience for it and I hate how some don’t let you get your money back if you forget the due date. Although I don’t do layaway, I do love a good deal. As a result, I tend to shop clearance racks.

  • Reply
    Kiwi
    December 6, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    I think people do get a little weary financially during this time. My mom is kind of upset because she wants to give all of these elaboate gifts but hello she has grown kids she needs to stop lol.

  • Reply
    Danasia Fantastic
    December 6, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    I love the idea of giving the gift of time- in a a day and age where we’re constantly running around, time is the most valuable gift to give.

  • Reply
    Eva
    December 6, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    We don’t really do that much during the holidays. The kids get each other gifts, and we may get them something that they really want. We set a budget and we stick to it.

  • Reply
    Kim
    December 7, 2017 at 12:39 am

    I LOVE QVC! I just got some things from there. That 5 easy payments get me every single time. It’s easy to find cheap, quality gifts. Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Homegoods…

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