It’s gift-giving season, but there’s no need to stress.
You’ve got first-rate ideas that are sure to impress.
Just take a pause before filling your cart,
and consult this short blog for an awesome head start.
Give one and give all, with forethought and reason.
Use these clever ways to save money this season.
1. Make a list and check it twice.
The more people you have on your holiday list, the more money you’ll spend. That’s why narrowing down your list of gift recipients is a good first step.
- Write down the names of all the people on your gift list.
- Take a second look at the list. Is there anyone you can delete, or move to a card-only list? Adjust the list as necessary.
- Then, for each name, write down the person’s hobbies/interests.
- Write down 1-3 possible gift ideas and their approximate costs.
- Total up the list, and compare it to your holiday gift-giving budget in #3. You may need to adjust gift-giving expectations.
2. Limit the number of people you buy for.
You may want to buy for everyone on your list but there are creative ways to limit the number of people, and still cover everyone.
- Whether in a group of friends, coworkers, or family, draw names and set a price limit. That way, you only have to buy for one person.
- Do a white elephant gift exchange. Everyone brings one wrapped gift. People take turns choosing a present and opening it. They may keep their gift or “steal” someone else’s gift. The last person to go has the choice of any gift in the room.
- Give a group gift. Connect with your siblings to contribute to your parents’ gift. Or give one gift to a family that everyone will enjoy.
- Skip all the adults and just give to the children. This only works if everyone agrees; otherwise, you will have some folks showing up with gifts, which could be awkward.
3. Set and follow a budget.
Americans will spend an average of $832.84 on gifts and holiday items this season. You may spend less—or more. Keep to what you can afford by putting together a gift-giving budget.
- Make sure the budget is realistic.
- Decide how to split the budget among your gift recipients.
- Keep the budget with you, on your phone or in your purse or wallet, so you can reference it throughout the holiday season.
- Not sure what to budget? Look at your credit card statement from last year and see what you spent on gifts.
4. Shop around.
You could buy items at full price or you could buy them on sale. Find the best deals by shopping around, finding discounts, and using cards and sites that give rewards.
- Compare prices of an item at various retailers before you buy it. Use apps like Honey, PriceGrabber, ShopSavvy, and CamelCamelCamel.
- Look for online promo codes at sites like CouponCabin, RetailMeNot, and SlickDeals.
- Use online shopping portals, like BeFrugal, Rakuten, and MrRebates, to get money back when you shop. Or use credit cards with cash-back rewards.
- If shopping online, look for free shipping. There’s a free shipping day in mid-December, and many retailers participate.
- Many stores offer discount codes during the holiday season and additional discounts for teachers, students, veterans, military families, seniors, nurses, and first responders. Look for or ask about discounts that apply to you.
5. Buy second-hand items or make your own gift.
Not only are gently-used gifts sustainable, but they are also much less expensive than buying new. So is making your own gift. However, you’ll want to give it to the right person. (Not everyone appreciates a thrift store or homemade present.)
- Second-hand gifts can be very thoughtful. You can gift family heirlooms or your own special item.
- For the fashionista, hipster, or collector, thrift stores are a treasure trove of potential gifts.
- Facebook Buy-Sell-Trade or Marketplace groups offer free and low-cost gift ideas.
- Baked goods, candy, and cocoa make wonderful holiday gifts. Put it in a decorative tin or basket to make it festive.
- Exercise your creativity with some home crafting.
6. Save on gift wrap.
Skip the expense of gift wrap with your own homemade version. You can be creative with items you probably have around the house.
- Substitute any of the following for wrapping paper: butcher block paper, newspaper comics, and black paper with drawings done with a white paint marker.
- Use shredded colored paper to cushion gifts in boxes and gift bags.
- For extra-large presents, a plastic tablecloth works well as gift wrap.
- Use old cards cut with pinking shears for your gift tags.
- Remember to save this year’s bows, ribbons, and wrap for next year’s presents. Wind the ribbon around old wrapping paper tubes.
Pro Tip: To freshen wrinkled bows, put them in the dryer with a damp washcloth. Run the machine on the delicate cycle for 2 minutes.
7. Choose a less gift-focused holiday.
Talk to your family and friends sooner rather than later if you’d prefer to focus less on the gifts and more on the spirit of the holiday season.
- Consider making a joint donation to a favorite charity instead of gift-giving.
- Volunteer together over the holidays.
- Give the gift of your time. Babysitting, a home-cooked meal, and even cleaning out the basement are all wonderful ways to show you care.
- Plan a family trip or experience instead of giving actual gifts
Looking for extra cash for holiday gifts?
Some insurance companies allow you to skip payments around the holidays. At California Casualty, you have the option to skip your auto insurance payment for three whole months. (You also have this option to skip in the summer.) Ask your agent for details.
Happy holidays from all of us at California Casualty!
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.