Christmas time is here and with it comes the Christmas gift list. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have officially kicked off the holiday shopping season. But your trusty neighborhood frugal fury fighter isn’t sweating it one bit. In fact the way we Christmas shop has been evolving in an interesting manner over the last few years.
In 2009 we started our total money makeover process and were in the midst of cash flowing our ensuing wedding expenses. Needless to say we did not prioritize a huge Christmas budget that year. Instead we started what has become a piece of our current tradition to make homemade gifts and Christmas cards as well as an annual family newsletter to talk about the happenings in our world over the past year. That first year we had set a Christmas budget of a few hundred dollars and stuck to it. Our Christmas list has generally consisted of each our parents, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces and some friends of family.
The Christmases of 2010 and 2011 though have really stuck with me. In both years we set a ceiling budget of $500 and both years we came under by at least $200 each Christmas. In 2010 we gave the excess funds to our church. In 2011 we gave the excess funds to Water for Waslala, a non-profit dedicated to ending the water crisis in Waslala, Nicaragua. In both years we had every person and every item crossed off on our lists and we still came under budget. And this year we have again set our budget ceiling at $500. So here’s a few tactics I use that I would like to share with you, to hopefully keep you on budget this year.
Gifts of Wisdom
I am a huge believer in passing along knowledge. And I am also an advocate for getting the best price possible. So a great go-to gift for me is used books found on Amazon. Throughout the year I gorge myself on non-fiction books pertaining to personal finance, estate planning and topics that encourage me to build my overall character. From the best of the best that I read throughout the year I single out a few people on my list and gift away accordingly. No I don’t give tattered books but I refuse to pay retail as well.
We are big on gifts with a personal touch. Nothing says personalized better in my book than something home made. In the past we have given homemade Christmas cards, soap, jewelry, coasters and spice rubs. Making our own gifts has not only been cost effective but it has also provided an outlet for us to be creative.
We have also picked up a ton of great Christmas items, in excellent condition mind you, at rummage and garage sales. We have had to be a bit flexible with our list but when we have found quality items we match them up with the perfect people. Buying Christmas gifts at a fraction of retail cost truly makes me feel jolly.
Needless to say there are a plethora of options at your disposal to keep Christmas gifts from busting your budget. So get creative out there and I challenge you to avoid paying retail whenever and wherever possible.