Cutting Christmas Cost

Jan 08

So you barely survived the gauntlet of Christmas shopping and holiday spending. What now? Do you buckle down to pay off the newborn mountain of credit card debt you acquired and then forget about the existence of Christmas until the next time social media warns you of this year’s Yuletide period? If so, then this article won’t do you much good. We’re here to eliminate the stress and hassle that comes with last-minute Christmas shopping, the financial burden that accompanies the average Joe and Jane once the New Year high fades away, and the absolute mess that the holidays make of your finances. But if you’ve finally resolved to end this year in the best (financial) way possible, then read on!

Buy now (seriously)

This piece of advice seems counterintuitive to common financial wisdom. The general rule of thumb is to save up until you can spend time again. In most cases, that would hold true. But we’re talking about spreading your cost of the holidays across the year, not just preparing for the next onslaught of highly priced Christmas decor. January is usually the month where stores are extremely likely to slash prices on leftover holiday stock. The demand (and subsequently the price) for Christmas-themed products would be at its lowest point, and that is exactly when you should start to stock up on it. By the time everybody is rushing around looking for lights and stockings and who knows what else, you’ll be leisurely sipping on your homemade eggnog in front of a roaring fireplace.

Scale up your spending

Christmas season is pretty much the one time of the year that going for broke isn’t frowned upon. And the act of condensing so many costs into one measly month usually leads to some bad budgeting decisions. Unless you have the ascetic nature of a Buddhist monk and the willpower of a Stoic, you would be hard pressed to resist the lure of spending on all those things that would supposedly make up a “perfect Christmas”. An easy solution? Know exactly what you will be spending on and divide the cost over the course of the year. No-brainers would be Christmas decoration, ingredients for the traditional family dinners, and the bright Christmas sweaters everybody secretly loves but can’t wear outside of Christmas.

Cut back on the gifts

We get that Christmas is a time for giving. But there is a pretty clear line between giving gifts in the spirit of generosity and tearing your shirt off your back just to get your Great-Uncle Jebediah (who you haven’t spoken to in months, to be honest) a worthwhile gift. Make your own Naughty/Nice list, where close friends and immediate family members get thoughtful and ideally personalized gifts like a custom photo moon lamp, for example, and the rest have to make do with home-cookies or nothing at all. For a gift that you can make at home, you can always churn out some handmade photo albums or maybe stitch up a t shirt quilt using old, unused t-shirts! It may seem a bit against the tide of merrymaking that everybody seems to advertise, but it’s much better than coal.

Shop online

If stacked price for price, online shopping beats mall prices any time of the year. Coupons and My Voucher Codes are abundant and, more importantly, substantial. Shipping, especially for bulk orders, is usually free of charge. It saves you the trouble of travel and the inconvenience of getting stuck in the foot traffic the Yuletide sales often brings in. Just be sure to not get too carried away by the sales. A $50 purchase made for the price of $20 dollars doesn’t mean you saved $30. It means you spent twenty dollars, probably on something you don’t need.