Oct 112011
 

These 12 easy ways to save money for Christmas are inspired by my husband. We’re trying to save money so we can buy Christmas presents, and we need to figure out where to start.

Him: What do you want for Christmas this year?

Me: Um, I dunno. What do YOU want for Christmas this year?

Him: Um, I dunno.

If your conversations with your friends and family are like this, the first thing you need to do is start saving money…because eventually they’ll tell you what they want for Christmas, and it won’t be cheap.

12 Easy Ways to Save Money for Christmas Gifts

Even if you only try four of these money saving tips, you’ll start saving money for Christmas gifts.

Before the tips, a quip:

“If you only implemented the three R’s – reduce, recycle, reuse – in your kitchen, you would save money.” ~ Catherine Pulsifer.

Some of the best ways to save money for Christmas gifts is to reduce the amount you consume (stop buying stuff!), recycle “old” stuff (trade with friends, perhaps, or donate to the Sally Ann), and reuse your old stuff (e.g., reuse Baggies and tinfoil). Throwing away your stuff is throwing away money.

Make two days a week “No Spend” days

“Unspend,” advise the financial gurus at DailyWorth. “No Spend Days are powerful budget-balancing tools. By simply not spending money one day a week, you give yourself more wiggle room in other areas.”

I think one day a week is too easy – I challenge you to make two days a week your “No Spend” days! No fancy lattes, no DVD rentals, no 7-11 slurpees (my personal weakness), and no restaurant meals. In fact, I think this should be the number one way to save money for Christmas gifts.

Write your goals for saving money on your forehead

If you want to stay motivated to save money, you need to go beyond setting financial goals. You need to keep your goals front and center! The beauty of writing your financial goals on your forehead is that they’ll wash off when you shower. Then you’ll have to write them on your forehead again, and you’ll be newly motivated to achieve them.

I’m only half joking…the truth is that if you write down your reasons for saving money (you want to give generously this Christmas), you’ll be more likely to save money.

Turn price tags into hours worked

This is tip for saving money for Christmas is from the founder of Mint: “So you don’t really need another pair of jeans, but you eyed one that costs just $40,” says Aaron Patzer. “Inexpensive, right?  That depends on how you think of it, Patzer said. Say you earn $7 an hour at your part-time job (not uncommon for high school or college students who work after school and on the weekends). You’d need to work almost 6 hours to pay for those jeans. If you work 10 hours a week, that’s 60% of your work time. Think of it this way, and that pair of jeans doesn’t look that cheap, after all.”

Make it a habit to look at the things you want to buy now in terms of how long it takes to earn them.

Keep a running tally of how much cash you save for gifts

Every time you choose to take your lunch to work instead of buying it, or choose a regular coffee instead of a fancy frappuccino (this is one of my best ways to save money fast – I get a coffee out, but I don’t pay $5), write down how much money you saved. At the end of every week, tally up your savings. I guarantee you’ll be shocked at how quickly you’ll save money for Christmas gifts!

Figure out why you spend money

You can read about the best ways to save money until the cows, sheep, and pigs come home! But if you don’t understand and perhaps even change your underlying financial beliefs, you’ll never get your personal finances in order. Are you an emotional spender? A compulsive shopper? Do you have faulty money beliefs? You can’t save money for Christmas gifts unless you deal with your money issues.

Stop buying DVDs and CDs

How many times do you really need to watch your favorite movies or listen to your favorite songs? I own and love the movies Chicago, Mr and Mrs Smith, and Thelma and Louise…but there are only so many times I can watch them!

“I know someone with a massive DVD collection,” writes Pat Foran in The Smart Canadian’s Guide to Building Wealth. “He takes the bus because he can’t afford a car, but he does have every episode of The Twilight Zone.”

You need to decide what’s more important:  saving money for Christmas gifts, or guying another DVD or CD that you’ll watch or listen to once.

Get thee to a library!

My husband and I don’t just borrow books from our library, we take out magazines, CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks. I borrow Pilates, Yoga and other workout DVDs – which is a great way to save money on your weight loss goals. When was the last time you visited your local library? It’s a great place to save money!

Find meaning in experiences, not stuff

I know how fun it can be to buy new things – I’m not a shopper, but I’ve experienced that “shopper’s high” when I buy something new! But, I also know that spending money isn’t the only way to feel good. In fact, spending money may one of the least satisfactory ways to be happy because it requires a constant outflow of money. If you’re an emotional spender (you shop to avoid stress or sadness), then you might think about finding meaning in your life without spending money. This won’t just help you save money for Christmas gifts, it’ll help you get emotionally healthy.

Pay twice – it teaches you how much money you could save

Here’s a great money saving tip for Christmas holidays from a blog about money from the BHM Financial Group: “Every time you buy a cup of coffee, lunch, or a newspaper, magazine, DVD or other entertainment material, put the same amount of money into an account intended for saving or bill payments,” writes Cassandra in Better Attitude, Bigger Income. “See how much money you’ve saved at the end of the month. Now you know how much money you spent (but could’ve saved) this month. This money saving tip will also show you how much those items really cost, since most of us only take home about one-half what we earn. So, buying that $5 DVD is really costing you $10, that coffee is really about $7.50, and going to the movies? Whoa . . . but, you get the picture.”

Figure out how to make money savings tips stick

You hear money saving tips all the time: cut grocery store coupons, stop eating out at restaurants, shop for second hand clothes, don’t use premium gasoline for your. But, do you actually apply those money saving tips to your life? One of the best ways to save money for Christmas gifts is to learn how to make good money saving tips stick.

Activate two money saving tips a month

There are smart ways to save money everywhere – the internet, budget books, your rich old aunt, on placemats at funky restaurants. Don’t try to implement every money tip you find; instead pick two a month. Focus on making those two money tips a habit. In a month or six weeks, find two more money saving tips to work on. This way, you’re not overwhelmed with a million ways to save – and you’re steadily progressing towards your financial goals for Christmas.

Save money for Christmas gifts faster by factoring in your personality traits

Pay attention to your likes and dislikes, characteristics, and lifestyle. What’s your money personality – what are your money beliefs? Are you a saver or a spender? Do you associate with people who have good financial habits, or are you always on a spending spree with friends?

To save money for Christmas gifts, you need to “ride the horse in the direction its going” – which means not trying to change who you are. Instead, find ways to fit those money saving tips into your life.

What do you think – do you have any tips for saving money for Christmas gifts? Comments welcome below…

  2 Responses to “12 Easy Ways to Save Money for Christmas – Start With Un-Spending”

  1. Thanks for your comment! I’ve already taken a second job, so I won’t have any problem saving money for Christmas gifts :-)

  2. Good tips on saving money for holiday gifts. I especially like your tip on finding meaning in the experience – that extends to the actual gift giving. It’s far more rewarding all around to take the time to find out what matters to the person who’ll be receiving the gift.

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