According to an article on Nerdwallet.com, the average American family spends just over $877 on basic holiday purchases such as gifts, decorations, trees and cards a year. While some families may be able to spend that much or more without batting an eye, for families who are pinching pennies, finding an extra nearly $900 in the budget can be next to impossible.
The good news is, $877 is simply an average. There’s no need to spend that much if you don’t want to, and half of American families don’t.
Instead of running out to the stores this year to grab all of the season’s latest and greatest toys and electronics in order to keep up with the Jones’s, shop smart this holiday season and save big. Here are three ways to do just that.
1. Choose Toys Carefully
Have you ever purchased tons of great toys for your children, only to have them play with one or two and ignore the rest? This used to happen in our family year after year. Why not save money by buying fewer toys, but toys that your children will actually play with?
This year, take some time to think about the sorts of toys your children truly love and play with all of the time. Do they love dress up clothes, puzzles or books? Toys that allow them to use their imagination or toys with buttons? Find a few toys you know they will love, and skip all of the season’s hot items or clearance items that are just going to sit on the shelf. Even if you find a killer low price on a hot toy, it’s not a good deal if your children aren’t going to play with it.
2. Give Things Kids Need
Do your children already have a room full of toys? If so, they don’t really need several more. Instead of buying things because you’re “supposed to,” why not buy things your kids actually need or take the things you were going to buy anyways and call them Christmas presents?
For example, is your toddler ready to move from the crib to a big girl bed? Instead of buying the bedding just because, buy it as a Christmas present. Do your kids need new shirts and pajamas? Find some they will love and give them for Christmas. Sports equipment, fees for extracurricular activities, musical instruments and new shoes all make great gifts. Toothbrushes, hair brushes, hair bows, chapstick and fun socks all make great stocking stuffers.
Related: 50 Stocking Stuffers for Under $3
3. Spend Wisely
There are SO many ways to save money this holiday season, you’d be foolish not to try some of them, even if you can’t do them all.
- Keep an eye out for great deals (We’ll have tons of them right here on The Frugal Free Gal!)
- Use coupons
- Shop sales
- Hit the clearance racks first
- Price match
- Shop on Black Friday – Check out the current Black Friday Deals
- Comparison shop online
- Use Ebates
- Look for free shipping
- Make a list and stick to it
- Make a budget
- Pay with cash instead of credit
The truth is, you only have to spend as much on Christmas as you want to. It’s your money and you control how you spend it. There’s no reason to overspend to keep up with the Jones’s or because you feel you have to. Shop smart this holiday season and make this year your best one yet!
How do you keep your holiday spending under control? Share your best tips below!