Christmas Presents in Times of Crisis

You want to give nice Christmas presents to your loved ones, but at the same time keep an eye on the money you spend, and keep the total as low as possible. Sometimes you may feel it is hard or almost impossible. All you need is planning, ideas, imagination and some time. When it comes to saving money, planning is essential. That’s why I suggest you to start your Christmas shopping right away even if you think it is too early. By starting now, you have time to get organized, look for convenient sales and even make presents yourself. I have written the following tips to help you see how you can still give your loved ones very nice presents while not spending lots of money.

1) Planning is essential

The first step is to plan for whom you will be getting presents this Christmas. Try to make the list as accurate as possible. It is not the same to get presents for ten people than thirty.

2) Decide on a Christmas presents budget

Think of the total amount you will be able to spend. Be realistic. This should be the maximum you intend to spend on all your Christmas shopping. For safety, deduct a 10% of it. For example, if your budget is $200, deduct $20 which is ten percent, and use $180 as your budget. This will cover for later if you finally spend a bit more than you intended to.

3) Divide your budget

Now it is time to divide this total budget amongst all the presents you want to get. This is not straightforward, since you will probably want to allow more money for your kids presents than for other people, for example. Write a number close to each of the names you included in your list. Adjust the numbers until they all add up to your total budget. So far, this is an “indication”, because it will be difficult for you to spend exactly that amount.

4) Look for sales

This is why you need to start well before Christmas comes. Now you have an idea of the presents you need to get, and also an idea of how much money you are allowed to spend on each one. You can visit shops, find nice items on sale, and start getting some of your presents. If you are like me and enjoy picking presents for others, this will extend the Christmas shopping fun for months! Sometimes, for certain presents you may even be able to spend less than the amount you specified on step 3. As you buy presents and store them away until Christmas, update your list writing the exact amount you have spent on this presents. This will allow you to keep an eye on the real money you’re spending on Christmas shopping, and whether you are staying on budget or not.

I should add a last but important tip here. A personal note. Don’t focus on all those presents you cannot get because they are expensive. Be positive. Focus on the items you are allowed to get, and pick the ones you like best within those. It will make a big difference on how you feel and whether you enjoy your shopping or not. In times of crisis it is important to adjust to the situation and keep a positive attitude.

5) Make some presents yourself

This is possible even if you think you cannot do it. A great idea that applies to both adults and kids is to follow this procedure: buy a container people can keep (like a jar), fill it in with something nice (like sweets), decorate it (even with just a red bow) and wrap it up using some nice gifts paper. This idea allows you to buy the jars in quantity and thus pay less for each, and also buy the sweets in quantity. Some sweets look really good inside glass jars and even adults love sweets. When it comes to decorating the jars, you can use stickers, or you can paint them (even painting some small details on glass looks very nice). If you are doing this for kids, you can get plastic jars or even decorated boxes they can later use to store small toys. If you like baking, you can bake some Christmas cookies and give them as presents inside decorated cans.

If you make presents yourself, don’t forget to keep track of the total amount you spend on materials and keep your Christmas shopping list updated.

6) Enjoy!

When Christmas comes, enjoy giving your presents and also enjoy your success at planning it.

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