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- I work part-time, so I can’t afford expensive holiday gifts.
- To avoid overspending, I decided to budget in advance with my family and friends.
- I also keep homemade gifts in mind, and found them to be fine.
If you’re like me, you don’t have enough money to buy your mom fancy jewelry for Christmas. You might be surprised to learn that there are actually plenty of options for gifts that don’t require you to spend a ton of money. Here are some things I do to save money and show people I care.
1. Set expectations with others
One thing I do to make my Christmas budget affordable is to set expectations with my family and friends.
My family sets a budget of around $100. If we want something more expensive, that means we won’t get many gifts. It helped us understand how to stay true to our budgets. It has also been a great way to simplify finances for my younger siblings.
I often have gift exchanges with my friends, and we set a reasonable budget per gift from the start. This way I can give my friends a nice, simple little gift without spending a ton of extra money.
I’ve been to many gift exchanges and white elephant parties, and I know exactly how boring it is to spend a lot of money on your gift and get something that someone another found in a dollar store. Once I brought a nice gift…and brought home a box of spam. If we had set expectations better as a group, things could have turned out differently.
2. Decide on a budget before the holidays
Budgeting is similar to setting expectations, but for yourself. Budgeting is something I use to make sure I don’t overspend on gifts. I like to set aside between $5 and $10 for each person. It really is a great way to organize your cash for gifts without breaking the bank. After all, that’s what a budget is for: making sure you’re organized.
When I really want to give my friends and family nice gifts, I use a sinking fund. A sinking fund is when you set aside a small amount of money each month in a savings account. If I set aside $20 each month, as Christmas approaches, I will have $240 to spend on gifts.
3. Give my time and energy
One of the best alternatives for spending money is on homemade gifts. I’ve found that a lot of people appreciate handmade things, because you put a lot of time and energy into it. For birthdays or holidays, sometimes I like to draw something for my friends or family members. It’s something I love to do, and it’s free! It’s also more personal than giving them something I bought.
If I don’t have enough money to buy presents, there are many other ways to make Christmas meaningful for the people I love.