For all its splendor, celebrating Christmas can be pretty expensive. However, if you're a savvy and well-organized shopper, you can control your spending and still enjoy the holiday. Below are some practical tips to make Christmas budget-friendly, so you don't spend the most joyous season with just loose change in your pockets.
1) Set a budget.
You'd be surprised at how fast debts pile up if you don't follow a budget, so make sure that you set one and only give what you can afford to buy.
2) Propose to do exchange gifts.
There are more than 20 members in your family, including the in-laws, and buying presents for each and every one of them will poke a hole in your wallet. Why not arrange to have a Secret Santa and set a spending limit? Then, for every week leading up to Christmas day, you can set up a $3 gift exchange to add to the excitement. You could also provide a wish list and answer anonymous questions from your Secret Santa via Elfster. You might want to propose the same for your circle of friends, clubs and organizations and co-workers.
3) Scout coupon, freebies and discounts.
Bookmark the FatWallet Forums for regular announcements on hot deals, couples and freebies for you to snag. Many of these aren't announced in stores. Don't forget to check out the grocery deals too as you might want to stock up on some ingredients on sale, especially if you're going to cook for the holidays. Make it a habit to stack up on coupons from now on and use these for early Christmas shopping for next year.
4) Cash in those gift cards.
You might have some unused and unwanted gift cards from last year's holiday, or you could receive more of the same this year. Instead of giving them away or throwing them out, you can turn this into actual money via CardCash, Gift Card Rescue and Card Pool.
5) Join Ebates.
If you're into online shopping, then take advantage of Ebates' services and receive up to a 40 percent rebate from more than 1,800 online stores. It's not too late to sign up, as you can use this for all of your online shopping activities from now on.
6) DIY stuff.
If you're great with arts and crafts, you can DIY gifts or just the wrapping papers to save on expenses. If you've got amazing cooking skills, you can prepare dishes and treats as gifts instead of buying something. To push things further, why not use your skills to sell what you make and use the money to buy gifts for your loved-ones?
For more shopping tips check out Save Money Shopping: Common Sales Tactics To Avoid.