I had great memories of Christmas Day when I was a little girl. We didn’t have much growing up, but that meant we valued and treasured what we did have. What we did have was two loving parents that tried their best to raise four children all while working very hard to provide for us. Even though we didn’t get everything we wanted for Christmas, our parents made sure we always had a great Christmas to look forward to. There were always a lot of presents under the tree for all of us to enjoy on Christmas Day.
Flash forward to 2014. As an adult I try to take some of the holiday shopping madness away from my life by shopping all throughout the year. If I find good deals, I try to snag affordable gifts and place them in a gift closet and save them for Christmas. Instead of waiting until the last minute to find great deals and stress myself out in the process, I usually get all of my shopping done well in advance before Christmas Day.
Also, when I am buying gifts during the year, this prevents me from spending hundreds of dollars during the months of November and December for Christmas gifts! The cost of Christmas gifts can add up fast, so if you aren’t careful and if you don’t follow a budget, you can find yourself overspending during the holiday season.
Here are a few tips for saving money this holiday season as well as tips to keep the stress at bay:
1. Make a list of all family and friends that you plan to give gifts to. Make sure you include teachers, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone else you may need to give a gift to. Decide on an overall budget for what you will spend this Christmas on gifts. Then, decide how much you will spend on each person and make sure you do not go over your budget. Try to leave a little room in your budget for unexpected gift purchases that you may need to make before Christmas.
2. Consider making holiday gifts and cards. You can save a lot of money by making gifts this year. Homemade gifts are great if you have a lot of people to buy for. You can make homemade ornaments, gifts in a jar, or even bake yummy treats and give them as a gift! Cards are also easy to make and give this year!
3. Spending time together as a family can be more meaningful than giving gifts. Save money and skip the gift giving this holiday season. Instead, watch Christmas movies together, drive through neighborhoods to look at lights, and scope out fun area activities that are free of charge that you can enjoy with your family.
4. Have a potluck Christmas dinner. Instead of the responsibility of preparing a nice dinner falling onto one person during on Christmas, host a potluck dinner. Provide the main dish and assign other dishes and appetizers to other family and friends.
5. Make your own Christmas decorations. Get the kids involved with this one! String popcorn and use it to decorate a Christmas tree. Allow the kids to make their own ornaments for the tree.
6. Recycle newspaper or magazines. Instead of buying wrapping paper, wrap presents in newspaper or old magazines! Used wrapping paper usually goes in the trash after presents are opened, so instead of “throwing money away,” recycle this holiday season!
I hope you can use some of the tips mentioned above to save this holiday season as well as to keep stress levels down!
What other ways can you save during the holiday season? How do you keep your stress levels down this time of year?
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. They want to help you reduce holiday stress through tools, advice, and inspiration that encourages you to make your holidays meaningful by spending within your means and focusing on meaningful experiences.
To get started visit suntrust.com/holiday
Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending. Download here.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.