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8 Holiday Budgeting Tips to Save You Money and Time
Your oh-so-generous giving heart may far exceed your holiday budget. That doesn't mean you need to settle for gifts that are ordinary or generic. You just need a few tricks and a little organizing to maximize your holiday budget, so that every gift feels on point (even when it's a total steal!). Follow these 8 holiday budgeting tips to make sure you don't bust your budget this Christmas. You'll be thankful you did when that credit card bill rolls around!

Early Birds

Cyber Monday now follows Black Friday as a traditional part of the get-it-early sales in holiday shopping. And it’s not just the big-box retailers who offer sweet deals for early shoppers. You’ll find loads of indie webshops slashing prices for Cyber Monday (even that entire shopping weekend following Thanksgiving). Check Instagram and Twitter for shops advertising deals (#cybermonday).

Free Service

Gift wrapping all those Christmas presents takes a lot of your time (and time is money). Plus, you need to invest in stocking up a pricey supply of gift wrapping supplies (that double-sided gift tape does not come cheap!). Instead, look for shops and stores (online and in-person) that offer free gift-wrapping service around the holidays. You’ll find many shops that do (and some offer the service in person but not online). Take advantage of the savings in money and time — especially for any last-minute gifts.

Check it Twice

It’s not just Santa who needs a list (and checks it twice!). Before the holidays are in full gear, sit down and make a list of everyone you need to shop for. Then jot down a budget of how much you want to spend on each person. Adding everything together may make you rethink your budget — even a shift in $5 or $10 can add up with a long list. Then look for coupons that match up with the gifts you’re looking for to save extra.  

Think Before You Shop

Consider interests, hobbies, and what your loved ones do for fun, so you’re staying focused in your gift search. If you have a good roadmap of what you’re shopping for, you’re less likely to buy something simply because it’s a good price (but isn’t a particularly special gift.)

What's on Wishlists

It never hurts to ask if they have an online wishlist (like one on Amazon) or even a Pinterest board with things they’re coveting. They’ll be happy to receive something plucked from their wishlist, and you’ll be able to choose something just right that fits your budget.

Keeping Honest

Make sure you ask for a receipt in store (or keep the shipping receipt), and put everything into a pouch, folder, or even a Ziploc bag. That way you can easily keep a running total to track your spending — and stick to your budget! Keeping receipts together also helps if you find you need to return or exchange something as a last-minute swap.

One For All

If you’re feeling extra strapped for cash this year — and your holiday shopping list looks overwhelming — consider opting for a family gift or a couple’s gift for some people. A bigger combo gift often feels more substantial than small individual gifts for everyone. And typically the one-for-all concept saves you money, too.

Shipping Size

Do you have family all over the country? Then think about size of your gifts before you start shopping. Take a look at the U.S. Postal service flat-rate box, and then make sure all your gifts are small enough to fit inside. That will save you big on shipping costs!