This week on Facebook, I witnessed the beginning of dreaded holiday countdown. If you and those you love celebrate winter gift-giving holidays, you know the one: the Facebook post shared by a well-meaning grandma or aunt with annoying flashing bulbs or cheesy reindeer. This one glaringly displayed "9 weeks until Christmas!"
I absolutely love Christmas and holiday cheer that accompanies it, but like everyone else I sometimes stress about gift-giving. This stress is heightened by the fact that I'm a college student with a very limited budget.
However, I've worked for my own income for a while now and planning ahead for big spending has helped alleviate some stress from the holidays, to make more room for joy. Below are some of my favorite holiday saving tips.
Plan (and save) ahead.
Figure out how much you can reasonably spend on each gift and go from there. Instead of finding a gift and then making your budget, make your budget and find gifts that fit within it. If at all avoidable do not use a credit card. Been there, done that...not worth it at 20 years old. It might sound more stressful to plan, but I promise it does the opposite.
2. Be realistic and sensible
Remember that your value as a person is not determined by the gifts you give. Find the most meaningful gifts that fit your budget and be proud of yourself for staying within them! You have your whole working adult life to spoil your loved ones; don't put yourself in a bad situation trying to do that now.
3. DIY is key.
Giving homemade baked goods in cute containers, making handmade cards/notes, DIY-ing decor, etc. is a great way to save money. It's also more personal and your loved ones will appreciate the extra effort.
3.5 DIY your wrapping.
Wrapping paper is more expensive than you think! Save your money by using recycled brown paper, magazines, or other paper materials around your house.
4. Don’t give apologetically.
If you couldn't afford to get someone the gift they wanted or you wanted to get them, don't bring it up. Period. Doing so is awkward and unnecessary. I know its cliché but it's really the thought that counts.