Friday, October 28, 2011

5 New Ways to Save Money on Your Christmas Spending

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.Image via WikipediaThe dreaded Christmas shopping season is fast approaching. Are you in danger of overspending like you did last year. Most Americans overspend and rack up large credit card bills. It's hard to break the bad habits of a lifetime, but this year will be different.

Breaking bad shopping habits is not impossible. I was terrible at shopping for Christmas gifts. I felt obligated to make a big present filled Christmas for my family. This led to over spending and large credit card balances arriving in January's credit card bill. The money I charge usually took till at least the summer time to pay back. This was an intolerable situation and I had to find ways to stop the madness. Below are just 5 ways that I made the break back to sanity. Maybe they can help you.

1. Cut back on the Gift Cards.
When shopping for that perfect gift for Christmas most people don't know what to get. So to end the shopping adventure they go to the gift card isle. It's so convenient to just get a restaurant or store gift card. But what amount do you purchase? You budget tells you that you can only afford a $10 card but you feel it may make you look cheap. So you go for the $20 or $25 card, which you think makes you look generous.

What you just did was bust your budget. This year skip the gift cards and do some actual shopping. You can't afford to give out $25 gift cards. Make a list with the name of the person and an amount of money you want to spend. You still have time to shop sales and stay on your budget. Don't give gifts not cards this year, you will save money and look like you actually care.

2. Spend cash not plastic.
All year you should of been saving for the Christmas shopping purchases. With this cash you will go shopping, you won't be using plastic. Not even your debit card. With plastic you have a greater chance to overspend. With cash it is very hard to overspend. Leave the cards at home so you won't be tempted. You will spend less and it will force you to hunt down better deals.

3. Have a Plan.
You are on a mission to hunt down that gift on your list, pay for it and get the heck out of the mall. No sightseeing or window shopping. You have your list, cash and a plan this year. Your not going to overspend again this year. You will be tempted by all the holiday decorations and music playing. But you can't let it happen. Remember you don't have to complete all your shopping at one time. It's better to break down your shopping into small missions that can be accomplished.

4. Make more purchases online.
The online shopping experience can make your purchases more economical because it's much easier to find the best deal. Websites like has forums where members take much pride in combing the Internet to find the best deals. Online you can get some new inspiration and find some great deals. For some, it eliminates impulse purchases, but for others it's to tempting. But if you are a savvy shopper, you can grab some good deals and stay out of the malls too.

5. Alternative gift giving.
The usual gift in a box will fulfill you Christmas obligation. But why not try something a little different this year. Instead why not give an experience. Get together with the whole family and plan a vacation. Your own family and extended family all plan on taking a little trip. You can rent a multi bedroom home at a lake or oceanside resort and split the bill. Make it a week together no TV or video games, just each other. Make a memory you will always cherish.

Giving experiences is a lasting gift that won't end up in the closet or the return counter. Do you remember what you received last year for Christmas, I know you don't remember. Most people don't because it was a meaningless gift. An experience won't break or get returned.

The holiday season is not about spending money or material gifts. It should be about celebrating Christmas and family. Don't get wrapped up in the material. Change the direction away from the usual and start some new traditions.


  1. We have made it a rule to not care this much about Christmas, Easter and everything in between. We really have EVERYTHING we need. We are purchasing clothes, when we feel like it, we've done a lot of traveling etc.

    For me these days are relaxation only. My web design clients are with their families, so I get some off days. I can re-organize my small network, I can work on my sites and have some time with my family.

    We'd like to travel to Spain, but we might do it after the Christmas. Airplane tickets are very expensive in the season and we're not tied to any schedule.

  2. If everyone is on board it is a refreshing way to spend the holiday. But most get caught up and pressured into gift buying.


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