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Holiday Gift-Giving on a Budget

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It’s better to give than to receive – unless gift-giving puts you in debt. Avoid overspending by using these hacks to save money on your holiday shopping!

Woman wearing a facemask and Christmas shopping
  1. Shop early to get the best deals

    The holiday season generally starts before Halloween and deals will be available around that time. If you’re shopping online, shopping early can save you money and help to avoid issues with the arrival of your packages.

  2. Give food as a gift

    Cookies and candy are classic food gifts for the holidays that are pretty inexpensive. Healthier choices for gift-giving include homemade salsa or apple butter. If you can make these recipes with homegrown produce, that will give your gift an extra personal touch.

  3. Set a limit of how much you can spend

    Write down the names of the people that you would like to give a gift. Decide on how much to spend in total on presents, and then divide that by the number of people. Anywhere from $15 to $30 dollars on each person can still rack up to a few hundred dollars. Make sure to stay inside your budget when purchasing gifts.

  4. Agree to a gift exchange

    Have too many people to get individual gifts for? Agree to opt for a gift exchange rather than getting everyone a gift. Here’s how it works:

    • Get the family together and put your names in a hat. To make shopping for your Secret Santa easier, put gift hints on your slip with your names. For example, you can list books you want to read, or your size and favorite color for clothing.
    • Thanksgiving is a great time to have everyone participate in the drawing. If you can’t get your whole crew together, you can do your drawing online through a free site such as Elfster or drawnames.com. If you’re having the drawing in person, take turns drawing names out of the hat.
    • The person whose name you pick is the one person in which you need to shop. If you draw your own name, choose again. Buy your gift, wrap it, and bring it to your holiday get-together. Leave your own names off the packages, so people have to guess who gave each present.
  5. Shop second hand

    Save money and find one-of-a-kind gifts at thrift stores, used bookstores, garage sales or through an online seller. Thinking of giving a pre-owned gift? Ask yourself how the recipient will feel about it. Some may love the idea and others not so much. Try to put some thought into it, and hopefully the recipient will love it!

  6. DIY gifts

    The opportunities are endless! Make your own luxurious body butter or scented facial scrub. Create a recipe-in-a-jar such as hot cocoa or sugar cookies.

  7. Bulk order to avoid shipping costs

    Retailers will sometimes offer free shipping if you purchase over more than a certain amount. Try to order multiple gifts from the same retailer to avoid shipping costs on different orders.

  8. Cyber Monday

    You can typically find great online deals on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday. Do a little research ahead of time, and have your game plan ready for Cyber Monday.

  9. Use social media

    Follow brands or retailer’s social media pages for exclusive deals and discounts. Small businesses may offer discount codes that aren’t advertised outside of social media.

  10. Add a browser extension

    Install a free browser extension to alert you when there is a discount for products on a site as you shop. Examples of browser extensions that can save you money are Honey or CouponCabin.com.

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