Gift-giving season is upon us once again. This is the most profitable time of year if you’re a retailer, and the most expensive time of year if you are a shopper. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a happy holiday. Even if you have a ridiculously long friend list, you don’t have to break the bank to satisfy it.

The first thing you should do to save as much money as possible is to get your shopping done early. The big sales happen early and that is when you should do all of your spending. You don’t have to wait until your holiday bonus comes in, or even your next paycheck.

You can find companies like Western Shamrock online or in your local area who can get you the right kind of short-term loan quickly even if your credit is less than perfect. This type of loan might be more accessible than a traditional bank loan. When you find the financial product that offers the right terms and conditions, you will be in a good position to take advantage of all the early holiday discounts. Here are a few other tips for keeping that shopping bill in check:

Go for Humor

You don’t have to be so serious with every gift. There are plenty of great gifts that are more about whimsy than productivity and practicality. Don’t pay $40 for a really good umbrella. Pay $12 for a unique and ridiculous umbrella hat that is almost as practical and will bring good cheer to all. 

The amount of money you spend on the gift is not what counts. It is more about the amount of smiles you give. You will give more smiles by saving money on each gift and going for humor and whimsy. 

Don’t buy a smartphone. Buy a retro 80s inflatable smartphone. Don’t buy boring office supplies. Buy a staple remover that looks like a dragon. Don’t buy cosmetics. Buy pickle-flavored lip balm. Why? Because these gifts are hilarious and very inexpensive. Do the kind of shopping that gets you more laughs for the buck.

Avoid That One Big Gift

A lot of people go for the one, big gift in an attempt to save money. Unfortunately, this strategy often costs you more than if you had just gone for lots of small gifts. Usually, the only thing the one big gift saves you is time. 

If you decide to go for one of the latest and greatest Pixel phones that were recently announced, you could easily spend $900. That’s iPhone territory. The new Google watch is also pushing against Apple Watch prices. You are not really saving anything with this type of gift. 

For a fraction of the price, you could purchase 10 gifts. Or, you could purchase three or four gifts per person and double the list of gift recipients. Either way, you save a ton of money while spreading more cheer to more people. The only downside is time. It takes more time to find those great gifts, and even more time to wrap them. Pro tip: nicely wrapping a gift makes it seem even more special than the price of the gift suggests.

Hands holding gift box with flowers. Gift present. Close up of hands holding gift box with natural twine and flowers. Hipster style gift box. Present. Birthday gift box. Christmas gift box. Hands holding gift box.

Create Instead of Buying

There are many great and affordable gifts you can buy. But there are even more gifts that you can make yourself for a fraction of the cost. You don’t have to max a credit card for everyone on your list. Some of those people will be even more moved by something from your heart and hands. 

Instead of buying a robot vacuum for over $500, you could give them a voucher for one day of chores. There are a lot of people who would rather have a day they didn’t have to do the dishes than some piece of complicated technology that, itself, becomes a major chore.

Give a friend 4 hours of watching any movies or TV shows of their choice. They would much rather spend time with their friend than have another Blu-ray they have to watch alone. Remember that nothing says “I love you” like actually telling someone you love them.

Keep this gift-giving season both fun and affordable by shopping early, avoiding the one-big-thing mentality, and creating your own gifts for the people you love.

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