Christmas Shopping - 12 Tips

Financial Tips for Having a Merry Christmas

The Christmas season is an Exciting and Stressful Time!   We’re busy, the stores are crowded, and we want to buy just the right gift for your children, wife or husband, mom or dad.  As parents of young children, we want to see our child’s face light up on Christmas morning with a gift they are delighted over! (like a remote control car, bb gun, a cool superheroes track, or a DSI.)

Christmas Shopping

The problem is finances are tight for many families, and most people probably haven’t been saving all year for Christmas.  We’ve all probably had the experience of overspending at Christmas!

So how can you avoid the Holiday Hangover of opening up the credit card statement in January and saying not, “HO, HO, HO” but, “oh NO, NO, NO!” we overspent again?  We want to share with you some financial tips to make this Christmas one that brings you and your family more joy and peace.

12 Financial Tips for Having a Merry Christmas:

  1.  Set an amount you can spend this Christmas.  That may be $300, $600, or $1,500.  The important thing is to be realistic on what you can afford to spend.  If you married, discuss it with your spouse to reach an agreement on the amount before you begin Christmas shopping.
  2. Make a list of everyone you are going to buy.  Include your immediate family and also family and friends that you give gifts to.  Try to determine how much you will spend on each person from your available amount.
  3. Don’t forget to include the Budget Buster’s!  What is a Budget Buster?  They are other Christmas expenses a family buys but often forget to plan for like a Christmas tree ($50), lights for the house, stocking stuffers, gifts you buy for a White Elephant gift exchange or for people at the office.  Don’t forget to factor in the extra food cost if you are having family over to your house, and also eating out while shopping. 
  4. Use Christmas Cash to purchase your Christmas gifts.  Place the cash in an envelope to use when shopping so that when it’s gone it’s gone!
  5. Avoid using the credit card!  You’ll spend on average 20% more if you use credit cards, and possibly be paying for this year’s Christmas for years to come.  The reason is that plastic doesn’t feel like real money to people, and most don’t take the time to figure out how much they’ve already spent.
  6. Consider going in with other family members to purchase a more expensive gift.   Your son wants a DSI for Christmas which is $200, but if your budget is $100, you could ask his grandparents to go in 50/50 and make it a joint gift.  Same idea applies for buying gifts for mom or dad.  You could go in together on a special gift with your brothers or sisters and each contributes an equal proportion.
  7. Give a creative and meaningful gift.  Something you make like a delicious pie or cake, or a gift certificate for babysitting your sibling’s kids for a night can make a great gift!  Maybe you can provide a service like changing a family members’ oil for them.  We like to give a current family picture to our parents each year.
  8. Drawing names can be a great way to do gift giving if you have a large family.  We had 10 cousins growing up so we would each draw one name and buy that cousin a gift.  Everyone felted loved and it was an inexpensive way to show you cared.
  9. Don’t go shopping again once you have bought gifts for everyone on your list!  When we go back to the mall or go shopping again on the internet we usually end up buying something.  Those purchases add up and can easily cause us to spend an additional $200.
  10. Avoid buying a gift for yourself around the holiday’s!  There are a high % of people who buy something for themself at Christmas.  You see something you like?  Share that as a gift idea!  Many times your family doesn’t know what you’d really like to get you for Christmas, so avoid buying yourself a gift and make it a gift idea.
  11.  Look for great deals on sale throughout the year, or when stores are offering a big time promotional like on Black Friday.  Also, if you can wait until after Christmas to buy for family or friends you won’t see until New Year’s, there are usually great sales going on at the end of year.
  12. Shop Early!  If you are naturally a procrastinator like me you’ve probably experienced the pressure of the last minute gift run the week of Christmas or even on Christmas Eve.  When you shop early and have plenty of time your sense of peace and joy of the season goes way up.  Plus you won’t have to settle for a lame gift at the last minute because you’ve shopped late and everything you would have bought has been sold out.  Shop early!

 

Peace and Joy

We all want Christmas to be a season of “Peace and Joy”, but it can easily become a time of “Anxiety and Stress!” and of “Materialism and Stuff.”  We ultimately need to remember the original reason for celebrating Christmas is the birth of Jesus.

Luke 2:10-11

“I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

 

Nativity SceneHow you can refocus on the person of Jesus Christ.

  1.  Read from an advent devotional around the dinner table and have your kids take turns.
  2. Read the story of Jesus’ birth from the gospel of Luke the night before Christmas.
  3. Bake a Birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Day and have fun wishing the Savior a Happy Birthday.

 

You can also make Christmas memorable by giving to others outside your family who have less or are struggling.   Give to a family in need food or gifts for their children through an Angel Tree program, Heifer Project, or send a Christmas Shoe Box overseas through Samaritan’s Purse.  If you know a family in your neighborhood or church who is struggling to buy gifts for family this year, drop an anonymous card in mailbox with $50 or $100 in cash.  You can make a longer term commitment and adopt a needy child through World Vision or Compassion International. 

Last, remember it’s often not the gifts that are given that make Christmas a special time but the time we spend together as a family that people remember!

 

Some great gift ideas … change a life this Christmas …

Give the Gift of Financial Health!

  1.  Give a Book – By Dave Ramsey or Howard Dayton.
  2. Give a Class – Compass Bible Study, or Financial Peace University.
  3. Give a Gift Certificate  for a Year of Financial Coaching with Freedom 5:one Ministries.

That could change their life!

 

We have a passion for the financial health of families.  Our Vision is to transform the Financial Destiny of Families in NWA and around the world! 

We are a Christ-centered non-profit that does personal financial coaching.  If you want to create a financial plan to transform your life and set you free from financial bondage we can help! 

You can find out more about us on our website:  www.Freedom5one.com or give us a call at 479-713-0070.