5 Ways to Stick to a Holiday Budget and Buy for Everyone on Your List

posted on November 25, 2020 | by Ginger Abbot

5 Ways to Stick to a Holiday Budget and Buy for Everyone on Your List

The holidays are approaching quickly — and it’s 2020. If the events of the past year have come down hard on your wallet, shopping might not rank high on your list of priorities. Even for those doing OK, uncertainty remains. 

Still, everyone needs something to look forward to as this year draws to a close, and opening gifts is a sweet way to celebrate. Here’s how to stick to a holiday budget and still get something for everyone on your list. 

1. Go Homemade

Few things scream personalization like a homemade gift. DIY never goes out of style — plus, it’s more meaningful to your loved ones when you make them something special. You can DIY everything from throw pillows to jewelry, gift baskets, or holiday ornaments.

Don’t overlook the power of practicality, either. Your DIY gift doesn’t have to be a craft. In fact, it could be an everyday item or service that offers some extra help. For example, if you have a crazy busy person on your list, a week’s worth of healthy freezer meals or a meal subscription can keep them fed when cooking is too much to tackle. They’ll thank you when they sit down to heart-healthy quinoa-crusted fish instead of ordering takeout again.

2. Agree on a Limit

Another tip for buying holiday gifts on a tight budget is to set a limit. You have several ways of doing so. The most obvious way is by making a blanket statement — spend no more than $50 per person, for example — and sticking to it. That might be easier said than done, but a good way to stick to your budget is by only using cash to buy Christmas gifts. When you go shopping, take out cash, separate it into a chunk for each giftee, and when it’s gone, you’re done.

If this doesn’t work for you, you might decide to keep gift-giving only to close family this year instead of for all your friends and coworkers. Or you could agree on a limit of one single gift per person. 

3. There’s an App for That

There’s an app for nearly every need in today’s technological age — and they can make sticking to a holiday budget less cumbersome. Did you forget the ideal last-minute present for your great-aunt? The answer to your dilemma is only a click away if you have a smartphone. 

Think digital when it comes to gift-giving, too. Has someone on your list wanted to learn Spanish forever? Give them a language-learning app — many feature lifelong subscriptions for one low price. Some include more than one tongue in case your recipient later decides that Japanese is more their jam. 

Does a reader on your list prefer audiobooks for their daily commute? You can give an Audible gift subscription starting at only $15 for one month. They get full access to a library of original books and podcasts, plus a credit to purchase any read of their choice. 

4. Create Hodgepodge Homemade Baskets

If your extra money situation consists of $5 here or there, you might think it’s impossible to buy holiday gifts for everyone on such a tight budget. However, if you get a little creative, you can make unique hodgepodge presents that are sure to delight. 

What is a hodgepodge basket? It’s a collection of small items that made you think of the person and smile when you bought it. Ideas might include lip balms in yummy flavors, a colorful pair of holiday socks or a plaque with a saying that reminded you of the recipient. Include a card explaining all the times you thought of them — knowing they rank highly in your mind is the best present of all. 

5. Give the Gift of Time

If you are short on cash but long on available hours, why not give your loved ones the gift of your time? It’s the ideal way to stick to a tight holiday budget while delighting those on your list. 

If you know a busy new parent, make them a personal gift certificate for free babysitting services to provide a much-needed date night. If you have a family member who has trouble with clearing out the snow, offer to keep their walkways clear and salted this winter. 

Giving the gift of time rewards both you and the recipient. You get to beat loneliness and spend a few quality moments together more often. 

Get Something for Everyone Without Breaking Your Budget

Don’t let the economic uncertainty of 2020 turn you into a grinch this season. With a little creativity, you can learn how to stick to a tight holiday budget while getting something for everyone on your list.