4 Ways to Save Money When Shopping for Holiday Gifts | Refresh Financial
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4 Ways to Save Money When Shopping for Holiday Gifts

'Tis the season to… go into debt? If we’re being honest, that’s what it feels like, right? No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, this time of year is hard on the ole’ wallet - no matter how many ways we’ve tried to save money during the year.

Some of us have loads of travelling to do, maybe even with several different stops to see family. Most of us have piles of gifts we feel like we have to buy. There are those who are hosting huge dinner parties and cocktail parties and brunches and even those of us who go into decorating overdrive. We need wrapping paper and bows, pumpkin pies and festive napkins, plane tickets, gas, and that jolly new tie with Santa on it.

Holiday spending vs. your credit rating

It seems like we do nothing but spend this time of year and, understandably, this brings on a lot of anxiety for anyone looking to improve their credit score and take control of their financial future.

Overspending during the holidays can wreak havoc on your credit rating. First, it raises your usage ratio which is how much of your credit you’ve used vs. how much is available. This can seriously knock your credit score down. Second, it can lead to accumulating more debt than you are able to bring down. Third, it will increase your minimum payment, making meeting your payments fully and on time in the future that much harder.

4 ways to save money this holiday season

What if we didn’t have to spend like crazy during the holidays, though? What if there were ways to make the Christmas season more affordable without sacrificing all the festive joy that comes along with it? What if there were ways to save money on gifts, food, parties and everything we tend to do every December?

I know! It sounds like an impossible dream, but with just a little bit of self-discipline and a lot of creativity, it’s totally possible. Here are a few ways to save some extra cash when shopping for holiday gifts over the holiday months:

1. Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Boxing Day Deals

The key to actually saving money on these well-known savings days, is to only buy what you have on your shopping list to begin with. See if you can grab some of the presents on your list at a lower cost on days such as these. Be prepared by knowing which of the places you have to shop at are having sales and grab your items then. You’d be surprised just how much you can save by taking advantage of these sorts of discounts.

2. Secret Santa/Exchange gift giving tradition

Whether you have a large family or not, giving gifts to each of your extended family is going to accumulate quite the credit card bill. Instead, why not suggest a Secret Santa sort of gift exchange this year? Don’t be afraid to suggest this! You know that everyone else is feeling the pain in their wallet, too, and they’ll appreciate you for alleviating the financial stress of gift giving. Instead of buying a whole bunch of gifts for everyone, you just have to buy for one person.

3. Set gift-giving limits

Before the big day arrives, why not agree with those you’re exchanging gifts with to a limit on what you can spend on each other. Make sure the limit is something you’re comfortable with and make sure you stick to it. As the old cliche goes, it’s the thought that counts!

There are also things you can do year-round to make sure next Christmas is even more affordable. Check out these 6 ways to save during the holidays.

4. Make a year-round holiday plan

The best way to make Christmas easier on the wallet every year, though, is to save money every month and put it into a holiday fund. Think about how to save every month. Where can you cut down? Where do you overspend? Reduce your spending in those areas and set the money you save aside. Keep that cash growing until you hit December. It is an exercise in self-discipline, but you should have a decent amount come the holidays - enough to make Christmas a little easier, at least.

Happy Holiday Saving!

If you’re careful and take some of these steps to lessen the financial burden of the holidays, this season shouldn’t end with you in more debt that you can handle. Christmas shouldn’t be something you dread or something that causes you anxiety. A few small changes and you’ll keep your spending to a minimum and the impact small. After it’s over, you’ll be able to keep cruising along, building your credit, and securing your happy financial future.

How are you planning to save money over the holidays? Find out how to save money every month on the Refresh Financial blog. We explore ways to save money, ideas to rebuild your credit and more.

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