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Ways to Stretch Your Holiday Budget

A line of presents on the ground, above "Ways to Stretch Your Holiday Budget" November 12, 2018

Ways to Stretch Your Holiday Budget

For many, it's the most wonderful time of the year. From twinkling lights to time with family and friends, there's a lot to enjoy about the season of giving. However, buying gifts for everyone can be hard on your wallet.

Whether you've been saving for the holidays for months or are just starting to think about what to get for everyone on your list, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your budget.

Hop Online

If you want to know about in-store deals, your favorite retailers will likely remind you of current offers when you opt in to receive emails or sign up for a free trial. Plus, a lot of companies will give you a percentage off your next purchase just for signing up.

And when planning gifts, visit the store's website to see if any offers are advertised. Oftentimes, there are banners on the page that include codes for free shipping or discounts. It's also worth looking into plug-ins and online coupon codes for the possibility of even greater savings.

Create Experiences

Instead of tangible gifts, giving experiences can make the holiday season that much sweeter. Whether that's tickets to an event or spending money for an upcoming trip, making experiences possible can be more memorable gifts.

Some events even offer discount codes or incentives for using certain credit cards at checkout. Signing up for email alerts for when your recipient's favorite artist or team is coming to town can help you get the tickets right away, without having to buy more expensive resale ones.

You may also find deals available if you buy in bulk, so getting a group of tickets to an outing can be a great way to knock out a few gifts in one fell swoop.

Be Crafty

While you're determining what to get everyone on your list, remember there are ways to give gifts without simply going out and buying something. A scrapbook, handwritten letter or other display of memories is unique and worth hanging on to without a huge price tag.

You can be creative with how you wrap gifts, too. Newspaper makes quirky wrapping paper, especially if you use the comics section or sports pages. And gift bags are great to repurpose since all you have to buy is tissue paper, which is available in bulk at a lot of discount stores.

Not to mention, bypassing the costs of wrapping gifts means you'll have more funds to allocate toward the gifts themselves.

Get Charitable

Part of the holiday season is giving to others, and the options are expansive. Whether you're participating in The Salvation Army's Angel Tree or driving change in your community with your vehicle, giving to charity as a gift is a great way to spread the holiday spirit, especially if you donate to a cause they're passionate about.

Even if you're not donating as a gift, research ways your favorite stores give back. Online retailers sometimes donate a portion of their proceeds to the charity of your choice if you do something small like checking out through a certain website or buying a specific product. It's a small way to make a difference while doing something you would've anyway.

Put a Bow on It

Getting creative with the gifts you give without breaking the bank helps the holidays be more enjoyable for you and those you love.

By Allison Scott, GM Financial

GM Financial's Allison Scott is committed to steering people in the right financial direction. When she's not shifting gears at work, you can find her listening to John Mayer, cracking "dad jokes" or watching the Dallas Stars.

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