The holidays, especially Christmas, can be an expensive time of the year, with gift giving and celebrating. It is very easy to spend a lot of money on gifts and it all adds up! One way to keep the spending under control is to set up a holiday budget.
I set myself a holiday budget, every year. It has varied from a low of $120 during leaner years of pay cuts and a high of $300 during better years of full pay. This year, I settled for a budget of $240, setting aside $20 each month towards holiday gifts. This budgeted amount does not include my daughter's gifts, however. It is the amount I budget for everyone else on my gift list. This year, I have 35 people on my gift list (married couples are counted as one person as I give them a joint gift).
This gives me an average of around $6.50 per gift, but, of course, it doesn't always work out that way. Some gifts cost more (this year, three young ladies on my list received sweaters that cost around $20 each). In order to accommodate the more expensive gifts, I try to be as frugal as I can with other gifts.
Making my own jam with fruit from my garden is one way I make frugal gifts. This year, I made pineapple guava-ginger jam. My only cost was for the jars ($8.99 for 12) and sugar ($.50/lb). The guava and the lemon came from the garden and the little bit of preserved ginger I used came from a jar I had in the fridge. I estimate that, at most, each jar of jam cost me about $1. I decorated the top of the jars with a circle of holiday fabric that I had in my stash.
Other homemade gifts such as holiday table runners or cushion covers using fabric in my stash or fabric purchased on sale are also quite frugal. The only thing is they take some time to make and require some planning ahead to have the gifts made on time!
Other frugal gifts are items that I purchase on sale, especially the after Christmas sales, when holiday themed items are on clearance for 50-75% off! Last year, I bought several jar candles, that were regularly priced at $10 each when they went on sale for under $2! This year, several of my gifts included one of those jar candles.
Another low cost gift I gave to some of the young ladies on my gift list was a scarf. My daughter found them at the dollar store, for $1.99 each. The muted pink color of the scarves caught her eye as she loves that shade of pink and their softness won her over as she wants everything to be soft. She bought one for herself and texted me to ask if I want any to give as gifts. I told her, "Yes" and she bought me several (and I reimbursed her). They had a tag saying, "Topshop", which didn't mean anything to me, but, my daughter assured me that it was a good brand. How or why the dollar store had them is a mystery, but, they made a good frugal gift that the recipients who recognized the label appreciated!
Another frugal holiday gift my daughter was able to buy for her friends were these socks we found on clearance, for $.45/pair, when she came down earlier in November:
It really does pay to shop the sales!
I still have to get a few more gifts for New Year gifts. But, so far, I have given 28 Christmas gifts that averaged to $6 each, so, I am keeping to my budgeted amounts.
Do you make a holiday gift budget? If so, are you able to keep to your budget? What are some of the frugal holiday gifts you've given?