The holidays are an exciting time for friends and family to show their love by feasting on turkey and giving gifts, but shopping on a budget can be a nightmare. For many households, spending hundreds of dollars to get a little something for everyone is impossible, and can make the holidays more stressful than enjoyable. With some planning ahead and a few budget saving tricks, holiday shopping doesn’t have to break the bank.

Shop Year-Round

Holiday shopping doesn’t have to start in the months leading up to Christmas. Buying gifts throughout the year and saving them can spread out the cost and make it easier to get gifts for everyone. There can also be savings events that may take place before the holiday season, like Amazon Prime Day, that offer other opportunities to save. Right after the holiday season can also be a great time to buy gifts and supplies for the next year, since anything seasonal gets heavily discounted. Christmas themed gifts, gift bundles, decorations, and wrapping paper are all featured at great price in early January. These finds can then be saved for the next Christmas.

Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday is a great time to shop for the whole family at a fraction of the cost. To avoid impulse buying, go in with a game plan. Look for any specific items that you want to buy and plan who they’re for before Black Friday starts to avoid unnecessary purchases and spending. This year, Black Friday has started weeks early with merchants offering their best prices to lure customers to shop now. With most deals available online it is easy to save money and shopping for the whole family is as simple than ever.

Try Homemade

Homemade gifts can be both impactful and cost effective. One classic homemade gift is the coupon book, with coupons promising things like back rubs, dinner, or a night of watching the kids. People can also get more crafty and make gifts like macramé plant hangers, knitted scarves or blankets, or decorations. Another favorite is homemade food, especially of the sweets variety. Finding gifts for every extended family member and friend is less difficult when you can send them a tray of fudge or a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Giving food as a gift can be made even more special by giving people their favorite meal or dessert, and including the recipe so they can make it later for themselves and their families. Check out some fun FYI homemade holiday gift ideas here.

Gift Exchanges

For many families, getting a gift for every single person can be overwhelming and impossible to pay for. A fun, and easy, way for everyone to get a gift without worrying about overspending is to do a gift exchange. Families and friends can draw a name for who they have to buy a gift for, and they are responsible only for that person. A White Elephant gift exchange can also be fun. Spending limits can be set and wish lists can be compiled to keep things fair, and to ensure that everyone gets something they actually wanted.

The holiday season is meant for creating lasting memories, not for stressing out on the perfect gift. Take some time this year to think about what each of your recipients will value in a gift and then put your best effort into making it special for them!

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