Every year, we say we are going to save all year for Christmas. And every year we don't do it. So when we start Christmas shopping we set a budget a stick to it (mostly). Especially when I wasn't working. It works. And even if we do actually manage to save next year we will still set a budget. So here is the best tips I have found and what works for my family.
1. Our kids get 3 gifts from Santa. That's it. We give them clothes that they need but Santa brings 3 gifts. It has been our biggest budget saver. No more matching amounts of money or making sure everyone has the same amount of big gifts. 3 gifts- no more and no less.
2. Shop sales and use coupons. - This was big last year and this year. Last year we didn't have teacher gifts for school since I homeschooled but we did have Bible class teachers. I scored some amazing deals at Allume and got teacher gifts for $.25. This year I went to Hobby Lobby after Thanksgiving and bought rolls of wrapping paper for less than $2.00 and used a coupon for tape. So their teachers are getting wrapping paper and tape for Christmas. It is a useful gift that I would love to get myself.
3. BUY EARLY! Face it- if your kid wants it and you can get it over the summer, get it. The price is either less than what you are going to pay or even if it's the same- you aren't stressed over it. And if you are one of those who can go right after Christmas and stock up on stuff for the next year- DO IT!
4. Being on a budget does not mean that you have to be cheap or less meaningful with a gift. Do you have a family member that needs some help with their Christmas decorations or watching their kids so they can do their Christmas shopping? What a great gift that would be! And what did it cost you- time, not money.
5. If you can make homemade gifts then make them. I love homemade gifts but don't have the time to do them myself or I would.
6. If you can wait on clothes or shoes until after Christmas, I would. As a matter of fact we are this year. The boys and I will go shopping the weekend after Christmas for their clothes and shoes. Take advantage of those after Christmas sales.
These are just some things that work for us. They may not work for your family but you never know.