How to Afford Holiday Gifts on a Budget

Man holding giftsFrequently, overspending and the holidays seem to go hand-in-hand. It can be easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and lose track of how much you are spending. For people who are on a tight budget, the holiday season can cause a lot of stress when trying to stretch a dollar and give a gift to everyone on “the list.”

Being frugal during the holidays, however, does not have to mean finding cheap or low-quality gifts. The key is to look for opportunities and creative solutions, to get the most for your money without having to sacrifice good taste.

Here are some tips for finding holiday gifts on a budget:

  • Watch for sales. Store circulars and online ads are great ways to find holiday bargains. Consider signing up for price-alert emails, such as those offered by some websites, to easily stay in the loop of where to find the best deals.
  • Compare in-store with online deals. Before making a purchase in a particular store, search for the product online to see if you can get it at a cheaper price elsewhere, either at a different store or through an e-commerce website. When in a store, ask if they offer price-matching. Some stores will match a lower price advertised by a competitor, right at the cash register. Websites also can help you to narrow your online search for the best deal.
  • Subscribe to e-newsletters at your favorite store. If you likely will shop at a particular store or want to purchase a specific brand, consider signing up for the store or brand’s e newsletter. Many companies will send coupons and discount offers to their subscribers.
  • Consider buying items in bulk. If you have several people on your list who share a common interest, you could save money by buying a larger quantity. Be sure, however, to personalize each gift, to show the thought behind it. For example, if you have a lot of coffee lovers on your gift list, you could buy a bulk set of coffee mugs and a variety pack of coffee, and then create personalized “coffee baskets.”
  • Plan to shop later, or sooner in the year. Many stores have last-minute discounts the closer it gets to the holiday’s date. Be prepared, however, that the longer you wait, the fewer options are likely to remain for you to choose from. Or, consider shopping just after the holidays for the following year, or throughout the year, whenever you see some great sales.
  • Bake cookies or a cake, or other homemade treat. Edible and other gifts made by you can be economical to make and eagerly welcomed. This tried-and-true solution for reining in the budget never goes out of style.
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