How To Avoid Spending More Than $500 on Holiday Gifts

Asian woman carrying stacked of christmas gift boxes, she prepare and decorate her home for Christmas festival and night party.
Noyna /

Now that the season of gift-giving is almost here, you’ll have to be careful not to get caught up in the holiday spirit and spend too much on presents. And all of the pre-holiday sales just make it easier to spend. While no one is willing to let inflation dampen their spirit, it does appear as though the majority of Americans are on a tight budget.

Everyone is prepping for an expensive season. A recent GOBankingRates survey found that, on gifts alone, a quarter of Americans (28%) plan to spend between $251 to $500. Another 21% plans to only spend between $101 to $250. That’s almost half of Americans that plan to spend less than $500 on gifts this year. Since inflation is making it harder to save, here are a few ways to avoid overspending.

Set a Budget

While it’s fun to splurge for the holidays, the best way to avoid overspending is to set a budget. As a matter of fact, 47% of people have a strict budget for holiday spending this year. Give yourself a specific amount that you’ll feel comfortable spending. You can even divide that into smaller budgets for things like decorations and travel. This way, you can be more intentional with when you’re shopping and spending. It’s a little harder to spend when you’re keeping track of every dollar.

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Make a List

Before you start buying gifts, take the time to write down the names of everyone you have on your list this year. Include any office gift exchanges or secret santas. Next to each name, try and think of a gift while keeping your budget in mind. This may be harder for some than others, but it’s helpful to have an idea of what you’re shopping for ahead of time. This way you can check different stores for the best deals, and hopefully stay within budget. Don’t worry if you have to cut some names from your list. A third of Americans (33%) plan to buy fewer gifts this year to help combat the higher costs.

Go For Quality Over Quantity

When deciding on gifts for friends and family, instead of a variety of knickknacks or an expensive electronic, go for something more personal. A gift doesn’t have to be pricey to be meaningful. Sometimes, the simplest presents are the most memorable. You can’t go wrong with a framed photograph or portrait. Get crafty and creative with it and try making your presents this year. Not great with your hands? Try gifting an experience or a favor. There are tons of ways to show people how much they mean to you without going over budget.

Make Your Money Work for You

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