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I'm Dreaming of a Cheap Christmas

By Cary Anderson

What should be the best time of the year is stressful for many people. The gift-giving and celebratory demands of Christmas can result in a financial burden that takes much of the next year to get out from under.

This isn’t what Christmas is about. Taking on undue debt and stress in order to meet the demands of Christmas should be avoided at all costs.

Here are our tips for saving money on Christmas.

Skip the Decorations

Blasphemy, we know, but Christmas decorations go up for just a couple of weeks before they’re rendered useless. You can keep tens or even hundreds of dollars in your pocket by not getting caught up in the temporary hysteria of Christmas decorations.

It’s still Christmas even if you don’t fork over money for a tree, lights, ornaments, and other decorations. Drink some hot chocolate and take further warmth in the money you’re saving, not the soon-dead tree could be in your living room.

Go ‘Secret Santa’

Rather than buying gifts for everyone in your family, establish a Secret Santa gift-giving method. Draw names at random so each person is assigned responsibility for giving gifts to someone else. Participants can create a wish-list that is shared in a public domain to help Secret Santas ensure they’re giving their recipient a gift they’ll be excited about.

Set ground-rules for a minimum and maximum amount of expense to put towards these Secret Santa gifts.

Just Give to Kids

Many families choose to scrap the model of adults giving gifts to other adults and instead focus on gift-giving to only the kids. Kids love opening gifts, but usually the fun wears off a bit into adulthood. Do the mature thing for personal finance success and just spend on gifts for the children in your family.

Bake Cookies

Your contribution to friends and family this season can be savory holiday cookies... and nothing else. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to put smiles on the faces of friends and family this Christmas than by dropping a platter of Christmas cookies in front of them. Oh and did we mention this option is amazingly cheap? You can make dozens of cookies to give away to virtually everyone you know for well under $100. There is no better way to spread the Christmas cheer far and wide at a nominal expense.

Trinket Gift Bag

The joy of Christmas for many is having gifts to open. The thrill of tearing apart that wrapping paper is 90% of the fun. For these adults and children alike, opening one gift that $100 was spent for isn’t nearly as fun as opening 6 gifts that each cost $10. Do the math, which is a better deal for the gift-giver?

Look for these win-win opportunities to escape this Christmas with your financial objectives still in tact!

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