This Christmas I was on a very tight budget as I’ve been trying to save $5,000 for a 35-day trip to Europe. Saving for my trip has proven much harder than I had anticipated because of the holidays. By this point, I wanted to have saved $4,500, but I’ve only saved $3,000. I managed to save $3,000 by REALLY limiting my Christmas budget.
Here are the five tips I used to save money this Christmas.
Limit Presents – My first step to save money was to cut down on the number of presents I was buying. I have three siblings and two step-siblings. Since we are all in our 20’s or younger I knew that we didn’t have unlimited money to spend this Christmas. For this reason, we all decided that we would do secret santa instead. Buying one gift is much cheaper than buying four! As we have just begun to blend our Christmas traditions we didn’t have any “family” ornaments so we decided to buy each other ornaments that reminded us of one another. I bought my little sister a sand dollar ornament because we always used to collect them at the beach. She loved it and it cost a little less than $10!
Homemade Gifts – I also am a huge fan of homemade gifts. Since I like to bake I already had all the essentials at my house. This made my homemade presents essentially free as I was using things I had around the house. I made snickerdoodle cookies for my office at work and also made ricotta cookies to give to friends.
Coupons/Deals – My favorite purchase (and best deal) this Christmas was the present I bought my boyfriend. He recently bought a new mattress and needed new sheets. I never realized how expensive sheets were until I started looking! Sheets can be $300? What!? Anyway, I wanted to buy high thread count sheets so I began checking deal websites. This is when I stumbled on Beyond the Rack..and fell in love. I was able to score a 4 piece 1200 thread count sheet set for $49.99! With shipping it cost $59.94. Compared to the $300 price tag I was looking at in the store, this was amazing!
One Purchase = Multiple Gifts – On Black Friday there are many deals but one of my favorites is Bath&Body’s Black Friday Bag deal. The Bag costs $20 with a $40 purchase and has $100 worth of product! The bag comes with two lotions so I bought the body sprays (around $22 all together) to go with them and gave each lotion/body spray combo as a gift. The rest of the products (which were a candle, body wash, foam bath, sparkling hand soap, loofa and perfume samples) I gave as another gift! Three gifts for $62. Not bad!
One Big Gift – This year I made one big purchase for Christmas: professional family photos. My siblings and I haven’t taken pictures in years and we were really getting sick of the embarrassing photos from our our teenage years. We needed some pictures of what we looked like now to balance it out. Since I work as a wedding planner during the summer months I know a few photographers and mentioned this to them. My favorite photographer is pretty pricey but her pictures are so worth it. Since we’re friends, she gave me $100 off. The session ended up costing $150 and included for a CD of almost 100 high-resolution pictures. I gave these digital photos (so I didn’t have any printing charges) to my father and my grandparents and they loved them. I spent $150 for four gifts!
Overall, I spent about $300 on Christmas. I don’t have any children and as I’m still one of the youngest members of my family I’m not expected to buy very expensive gifts. I think this really aided me in saving this Christmas on top of all my frugal tips. How do you maintain your holiday budget? Did you hear Bargain Babe spent more than $700 on her Christmas gifts?
Do you have any Christmas saving tips?