The holidays are a jolly, merry time of year, although they can also be a big source of financial stress. If you face pressure to buy lots of gifts for family and friends but are living on a fixed income, the holidays can bring more anxiety than joy. The good news, however, is that it is possible to complete your holiday shopping on a budget by getting creative about your gift ideas.
From out-of-the-box gifts to small gift ideas, we’ve got great tips on how to budget your money this holiday season:
Put An Actual Budget Together
While you might know that you shouldn’t be spending much for the holidays, having a concrete number will help you stay on track. Small purchases can add up quickly, so creating a budget and tracking your spending will help you stay engaged with your finances through the hectic holiday season. Shopping on a budget is only impossible if you don’t actually have a budget!
Shop Online To Find The Best Deals
Running around from store to store is not only exhausting, but it also may not yield the best deals for you. The internet is ideal for people who are holiday shopping on a budget because you can quickly and efficiently compare deals and find the best price. Not to mention that shopping online from the comfort of your own home will save you money that otherwise would have been spent on gas, parking, public transportation or cab fare to travel from place to place. Additionally, many online retailers offer free shipping, special promotions, and discount codes this time of year that will help you figure out how to budget your money for holiday gifts.
Commit To Using Debit Instead of Credit
When it comes to shopping on a budget, one of the best pieces of advice is not to spend money you don’t have. That means that once you figure out how to budget your money, you commit to using a debit card or cash to purchase gifts instead of using a credit card. While credit might seem appealing, especially when you’re on a fixed income, it can be detrimental in the long run because of fees you can incur through high-interest rates.
Make A Donation In Your Loved One’s Name
One of our favorite small gift ideas is swapping out gifting a physical object for a thoughtful donation for a good cause. Whether your loved one is passionate about education, animals, women’s rights, health care, or research to help cure diseases, there are nonprofits out there that will support both their passion and your budget. Donations also really embody the holiday spirit, which is not so much about gifts, but rather about helping those who are less fortunate than you.
Opt-Out of Gift Wrap (Unless It’s Free!)
Gift wrap might not seem like a splurge, but it can end up pushing you over budget this holiday season. Choosing to forgo professional gift wrapping options unless it’s free with your purchase is ideal when shopping on a budget. You can also find creative ways to wrap gifts yourself, including old magazines, newspapers or fabric. Consider it recycling!
Do A Gift Swap
Changing up the typical gift tradition might be challenging at first, but it can also be fun to create a new experience with your friends and family. A gift swap, like “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant,” where everyone only buys one gift for one other person is ideal when shopping on a budget. You can even set a spending limit, so everyone is guaranteed to spend below a specific amount, or forced to get more creative with small gift ideas.
Survive The Holidays On A Budget (And Beyond)
Living on a budget can also mean a lot of stress surrounding health and wellness needs that arise with age. With Medical Guardian, we never want your safety to take a back seat to your budget, so we take extra care to ensure that we have a variety of products at different price points. If you’ve been in need of a medical alert device but are hesitant to make the purchase because you are trying to figure out how to budget your money for one, contact one of our Life Safety Consultants who can walk you through all of your options.