Christmas Doesn’t Have to Leave You Broke

This is going to come as a shock, but Christmas comes every year on December 25. It doesn’t change. It’s not like when your roof suddenly begins to leak during the May monsoons, or when the muffler on your car just decides to plop down in the middle of Woodward Avenue the week before Halloween. Christmas is a financial event you can plan for, and taking advantage of this fact will save you both money and stress when the Most Wonderful Time of the Year rolls around. We’ve gathered some tips to make your holiday season just a bit more budget-friendly.

Plan for affordability.

Take a good look at the books and decide what you can afford to spend for Christmas – taking care to make sure you’re not going to be flat broke in January. Stick to that budget no matter what, even if that means getting your 4 year old some books and a baseball glove instead of the latest iPhone.

Reduce the list of people you buy for.

Sure, children, parents, siblings, and other close family and friends should get their due. But consider skipping coworkers, extended family you don’t see on a regular basis, and the barista who fills your Starbucks order a few times a week. You might just relieve them of the obligation to buy YOU a present in return.

Commit yourself to shopping around relentlessly for big-ticket items.

TVs, computers, video game consoles, etc can vary wildly in price from different retailers. Also, some have found that giving an “IOU” and buying the item during the heavily discounted post-Christmas period can be a win-win – just make sure that the recipient of said IOU won’t be offended.

Switch up Christmas dinner.

We just had a Thanksgiving feast, for goodness’ sake. Save some cash by forgoing an expensive Christmas ham for roasted chicken, or choose an off-the-wall theme like Mexican food or Appetizers Only to both mix it up and shop according to your budget.

As far as planning ahead, some simple saving practices can add a decent amount to that Christmas budget:

Save credit card cash-back rewards for Christmas only.

If you’re an Amazon addict like me, these can add up and make you feel like you’re rolling in free money.

Did you get a gift card for a place you’re not too fond of?

Use it to buy a gift for someone who would like the merchandise at that store. It’s not re-gifting!

Consider opening a Christmas Club account at your financial institution.

Michigan First’s option helps out so much, because you save money for the holidays without even realizing it!

Buy gifts throughout the year when they’re the most discounted.

This requires some advanced planning, though you can end up saving TONS of cash this way!

Got any more Christmas shopping tips? Leave ‘em here!

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