I love Christmas, and it’s not too early to start thinking about it! I love to give gifts. I have a lot of people on my gift list. And that can add up.
When my husband was a senior pastor, each year he took a special tree ornament to church and showed it to everyone from the pulpit. He made it out of the credit cards he melted a few years before we got married! The point: it’s not worth going into debt for Christmas. It’s possible to have a great holiday and give awesome gifts without breaking the bank.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to save money on Christmas gifts.
1. Buy throughout the year. Don’t let Christmas sneak up on you and end up looking for the perfect gift on Christmas Eve. Then you spend more money than you intended to on an impulse purchase.
2. If you have any craft or creative skills at all, use them to make gifts. Again, start early enough that you aren’t pressed for time when Christmas is almost upon you. This could be anything from clothes sewn by hand, to handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments, to stories written for your children, or favorite books read aloud on CD.
3. Shop discount or closeout stores like Marshall’s, Big Lots, or Tuesday Morning. Also check out local individually owned discount stores. You might have to sort through some junk, but you can find great buys at discount stores on everything from name brand clothes to stationery to housewares.
4. Buy in bulk and divide into inexpensive containers. Here’s an idea: Buy 50 lb. of steel cut oatmeal (cheap bought this way, but like gold if you get it in small amounts), package in quart jars tied with ribbon and a recipe for how to cook it.
5. Family and friends who live far away love to receive photos, especially if you have little ones in the house! Use inexpensive frames or pretty little photo albums.
6. Don’t feel like you always have to buy full priced, new off the shelf items. If someone on your list is a biliophile, find a book by their favorite author to add to their collection on Amazon or Ebay. You can often find items new with tags on ebay or at garage sales. Someone else payed full price for them, but you get them–still new–for a song! People frequently sell items in perfect condition that were probably never used. Add to someone’s collection with beautiful but inexpensive antiques from garage or estate sales. You might even find something brand new for free on Freecycle. But shhhhh, it will be your little secret!
7. Give the gift of time. Offer to rake leaves, babysit, or fix a meal for someone on your list. Make a certificate for a special tea time with your daughter or a fishing day with your son.
So you see, it’s possible to give a lot of gifts for not too much money. Use your imagination! You’ll find ways to save at every turn.