Each year, Christmas shopping puts millions of Americans into debt that they struggle to pay off the next year. It's quite sad, really. The spirit of Christmas is about family and gratitude and so it's unfortunate that the holiday has turned into a field-day for marketers where consumers struggle to meet the material demands of their children and other loved ones. Christmas shopping does not have to be a wallet-busting experience. Here are some tips to help lower your Christmas shopping expenses.
Shop Only for Kids
Contact all adult family and friends and make a truce with them. You can be straightforward and honest about it. Tell them, "I'm trying to cut back on how much money I spend on Christmas shopping. To do that, I'd like to only buy gifts for kids this year. In return, I would like it a lot if you wouldn't get me anything. Call it a truce where our gift to each other is to agree to save money." You will be surprised how many adults will be 100% in support of this idea. They're probably in the same boat you're in and will be relieved they don't have to shop for you.
If you have children, help create for them a spirited Christmas that is not all about gifts and material excess. If you are religious, you can focus on the fact that Christmas is about showing gratitude for the birth of Jesus and that, similar to Thanksgiving, the holiday is about being with family and showing thankfulness. If you are not a religious household, tell your children what Christmas means to you. Perhaps it's a time to be with family and reflect on the past year. The goal here is to deflect the material hysteria that your children have been taught to expect at Christmas. Busting the myth of Santa helps tremendously with this. Some families tell their kids at an early age that Santa is make-believe. Those kids learn at a very early age that Christmas is not about material freebies but instead about something more meaningful. Since you believe in responsible spending, use Christmas as an opportunity to educate your children about the pitfalls of getting caught up in the mob-mentality of holiday shopping.
If you get enough of a head-start, you can find a lot of great deals on hot Christmas items. Look on frugal-oriented consumer websites, such as SlickDeals.net, that post really great sales on a daily basis.
Pass on the Big Ticket Gift
The fun for kids at Christmas is about having gifts to open. You can spend $100 and have a mountain of gifts for your kids to open as long as each of those items is something small (in price). This is win-win: you get to save money and your child still gets lots of presents to open.