For those who have already started successfully tackling their gift lists, coming in under budget and powering through handmade gift sessions, this list is not for you. For the rest of us, avoid spending too much money on gifts this year because you don't have a plan (or because you're getting started late).
Make a list of who to buy for...and then narrow it down
For the generous, the list of people you want to give presents to can be miles long. And while that is quite sweet and quite admirable, are there some people on there you just don't really have to get a gift to? Or can you give gifts to families and couples, so you're not purchasing separate gifts for everyone? You might at least be able to narrow down the people you need to buy gifts for, and then maybe try some of the suggestions below for sharing holiday cheer with others in a more affordable way.
Stick to a budget
Do you have budget tricks that you employ in your every day life that help you not go overboard on eating out and other treats during the month? Use those same tricks for gift buying season. Make a budget that feels reasonable, and then stick to it by only paying with cash. Or having a plan for how to buy or make more affordable options if you start spending too much. Have a plan B, a plan C and so on so you don't feel like the only option is to go over.
Hand make gifts in bulk
Soap, granola, ornaments, making a lot of the same thing really well at the same time doesn't have any less meaning than buying individual gifts for every person on your list. Just pick an item that you really love or you know your friends and family will love. Take care with the presentation and individualize items with different colors or handwritten messages to make them more special.
Offer gifts you don't have to buy
There are plenty of things that people need that don't come in a box. Like help setting up technology in the home if you happen to be great at that. Or help cleaning the house or DIYing something. Babysitting or pet sitting. There are plenty of services you can give as gifts, and since you'll be helping someone else greatly, they'll appreciate it as much as a gift you may have bought.
How do you keep your holiday spending under budget and in control?