Are you ready for Christmas?
I know you’re reading this headline thinking, “Christmas?! We haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet… or even Halloween for that matter!” but trust me, there’s a method to the madness. It’s not a secret that holidays can be stressful, so having a plan BEFORE they come around helps alleviate the chaos.
Here are some of our best tricks to make our holiday budget go further that we use all year long.
Download apps designed for mindless saving.
Start by looking into apps like Digit, Qapital, or other budgeting apps that can link to your checking account and save bits of money here and there without you even realizing it. They only take a couple minutes to set up, and they do all the work for you! I signed up for Digit in February and have already saved over $1,200 by having the app automatically transfer money from my checking to my savings — so easy! 💰
Hip Tip: You can also check out rewards apps that will earn you cash back for your everyday purchases!
Set up automatic bank transfers.
If you like having more control, look into automated transfers between your checking and savings. You could also ask your employer to send a portion of your paycheck to a special saving account for your holiday spending. It’s the same theory of saving without having to manually complete the process, except you can control the amount and the frequency.
“Our bank does the Christmas fund so it automatically transfers over $25 a paycheck from each of us, and that helps out a lot! I love the automatic feature because I’m just not disciplined enough to do it myself.” — Alana
Buy clearance items when you see them.
It’s no secret that you’ll save a ton by purchasing gifts on clearance, but don’t think you need to wait until December to start buying! Search for marked down gifts that typically don’t require gift receipts such as candles, beauty products, or housewares, to ensure your recipient won’t have to worry about exchanging for another size. You can also check out clearance from stores with generous return policies like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Target just in case you think your giftee may want to return the gift.
“Buy all the clearance things! Just kidding — but really, I buy throughout the year whenever I see things that I think would make a good gift. Plus, if by the time Christmas comes and they’re not interested in that anymore, it’s a great donation item!” — Alana
“Buying throughout the year has SAVED me! I remember a friend telling me in like July that she had all her Christmas shopping done — I freaked out. Ever since I have been trying to do the same thing. I am nowhere near done, but I have gotten better. I used to be a Christmas Eve shopper! Oh, and don’t forget about Black Friday deals!” — Jessica
“I buy throughout the year when things are easier to locate and easier to find a deal on. That way I’m not scrambling at the last minute and spending more than I should. I’m usually done with Christmas shopping by August! This also prevents impulse buying. Don’t get me wrong; we spend quite a bit on high-quality items the kids want… I just don’t spend too much since I know my buying cycles.” — Jamie
“I make gift baskets for people with their favorite things and gather the supplies throughout the year. For example, my mom gets a book basket, my sister-in-law gets a Joanna Gaines basket, etc. You can give huge baskets of stuff for less when you shop clearance and sale items!” — Michelle
Use discounted gift cards on gift purchases.
If you aren’t using discounted gift cards yet, what are you waiting for?! We like purchasing from Raise.com because of their user-friendly platform, 365-day guarantee, and good customer service. If you’re still on the fence, see how Jamie at Hip2Save has already saved over $2,000 using this website!
Switch up the tradition.
Instead of buying the latest toys and tech, consider gifting memories instead. If it’s a warm-weather trip, you can buy a couple of gifts as hints, like bathing suits, towels, or beach supplies which are on clearance right now! Gifting memories and experiences are also great ways to help lessen the feeling of entitlement in children.
“This past Christmas, we gifted our 3 kids a family vacation to Hawaii for Spring Break! To make it extra fun, I created a scavenger hunt on Christmas morning with tropical-themed clues like sunscreen, bathing suits, pineapple candles, etc. The kids had a blast solving the scavenger hunt and then really looked forward to the trip for 3 months — it was fun counting down the days. The trip itself was awesome! We created so many memories and really connected as a family!” — Bryn
How do you save for gifts and other holiday expenses?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Written by Emily for Hip2Save. Emily lives in Buffalo, NY where she spends her time drinking lots of coffee, scouring the internet for deals, and tackling DIY projects. She’s a big believer in self-care and living the fullest life possible, all while saving money of course.