Friday, 21 September 2012

Saving on Christmas/Holiday Shopping

In this day in age, everyone is trying to find ways to save money. For some strange reason though they seem to splurge on Christmas, Birthdays, and other holidays. Why is this? The average Canadian spends anywhere from $1000 to $3000 on Christmas presents. Holidays and buying material items are so over rated. Why spend thousands of dollars when Christmas is supposed to be all about family and togetherness. My husband and I barely spend $300 on Christmas presents. How you might ask? Every Thanksgiving we always put all of the adults name in a hat on both sides of our family. Each person picks one name and has a spending cap of $50 per present. In total my husband and I each spend $100 each for both families and then we buy one larger present for our daughter from "santa" and then we also buy a few stocking stuffers for everyone and my husband and I don't buy gifts for each other. We always buy a "gift" for a needy village like a goat or a pig to show our kids about charity and the value of donating.

Another easy and fun way of doing gift exchanging is everyone buying a gift $10 or under and putting it in a pile in the middle of the room without any names on them. Write numbers on pieces of paper from 1-10 etc depending on how many people brought gifts and put them in a hat and shake them up! Each person takes a number and in that order starting with number 1 they pick a present and unwrap it. The next person can either steal  the first present from the first person or get a new one and unwrap it. The last person to pick a present can steal anyone of the presents or take the last wrapped gift. This is a fun and cheap way of getting a gift and not spending a lot of money. It's amazing what you can buy for $10.

For Birthdays, we usually get together for dinner with the family. Instead of giving presents, we all chip in $50 per person except for the Birthday man/woman and put it into a Birthday account. It's amazing how quickly it adds up. We then take the whole family and go on a family trip. This coming February my family including my parents, my sister and her husband, my husband and I and our two kids are all going to Hawaii with our Birthday fund. It's a great way to travel if you don't have a lot of spare cash and for me I'd rather go on a family trip then to buy a silly present for someone who may or may not stuff it into the corner of a closet.

It's easy to have a lot of fun with little cost. You could try only putting in $25 dollars if $50 is to much or more if it's too little. Play around with it a bit and see what you come up with. Remember it's all in fun and make sure everyone is on board if you are going to do it. It's not fun when someone is left out because they can't afford it.

A great way to save for Christmas is putting a little away into an account every month until the end of the year. That way Christmas won't come as a shock and you have money to spend. You can also buy Christmas presents when sales come up throughout the year. It's a great way to buy products cheap an you don't have to wait until they jack up the prices at Christmas time.

Another way to save around the holidays is to bake or make your own gifts. Are you really good at making jams or cookies? Then why not make some for everyone on your list? Canning or baking costs are minimal when you have a lot of people to buy for. Make your favorite treat and share in the magic of giving! My holiday favorites are Church windows made with colored marshmallows, shortbread cookies, antipasto (my mom makes some every year), and of course homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Feel free to post some of your holiday favorites!

Next time you have a Birthday or holiday come up, why not make a card instead of buying one. Homemade cards are a lot nicer and more thoughtful then store bought cards. They will probably end up in the recycling eventually so why spend $6 on a card when you can make one for pennies? Be creative, come up with your own ideas on how to save money!

I hope you enjoyed todays read!