1. Start early.

We know you’re probably busy, but the last thing you want to do is to leave your gift shopping to the very last minute. Not only is that more stressful, it also doesn’t give you a lot of time to do your research and compare prices. You don’t necessarily have to buy everything right now, but knowing all your options can save you a ton of money.

2. Focus on experiences.

Instead of giving someone a P1,500 top, you might just want to treat them to dinner at their favorite place. You can also make a DIY coupon for a non-negotiable hangout sesh or short road trip for next year. It's a nice way to make time for each other without the temptation of being able to back out from a solid plan. Plus, it'll save you from spending on that present right now.

3. Do you have any special skills?

If you’re an artist, you can use your skills to make something personal for your loved ones. If you’re a photographer, you can offer to take some shots for free. If you’re a graphic designer, you can give them portraits of themselves. Yes, it’s waaay more effort, but it’s also much cheaper (and more impressive).

4. Think about handmade or homemade gifts.

Hey, everybody loves food. No one’s going to complain about getting cookies or brownies for Christmas. If that’s not your thing, you could also try knitting someone a scarf or a pouch! Get creative.

5. Take advantage of sales.

Got a friend who loves the beach? A lot of summer merch go on sale in December, but those sale racks are exactly what you need to hit up while you’re Christmas shopping! This is one way of planning ahead. Not everything you buy this time of year has to be holiday-themed.

6. Make a list and stick to it.

Just like how you should never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, you should avoid just walking around the mall when you need to buy presents. Brainstorm before you leave the house. It’s too easy to be distracted by all the options. We’re sure you’ve experienced buying a bunch of stuff because you thought, “Oh, I’m sure this will be perfect for someone.” But then you end up not knowing who to give it to, or it becomes an extra stocking stuffer.

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7. Shop for other people, not yourself.

Warning: there’s going to be a lot of cute shit out there. Every piece of clothing is going to feel like a must-have; it’s not. Focus on your list! Plus, hey, it isChristmas. Who knows what you’re going to get this year, right?

8. Or, be honest and tell everyone that you just can’t afford to buy gifts this year.

All the people worth keeping will understand.

This article originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

*Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.

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