It’s an expensive time of the year! There seem to be so many uses for our dollars when the holidays roll around. These frugal tips will make your holiday season something to remember without breaking the bank.
The whole essence of a successful holiday season does not lie in the amount of money you spend, but in the time, thought and care that you devote to the activities that you plan.
Wouldn’t it be a better feeling to know that you are not starting a new year with some newly acquired debt?
Save Money During the Holidays with these Frugal Tips.
But the holidays are such a busy time. It’s sometimes easy to just whip out the credit cards and figure that you will worry about it after the New Year. After all, who has the time right now? But money saving tips don’t necessarily mean that you have to spend more time.
Here are some of my tips to save money during the holidays. Even if you try just a few of them, it will reflect in your bank balance!
1. Christmas Cards
I used to be the proverbial Christmas card fairy. Every one that I have ever known seemed to be getting a card, the list was getting longer by the year, and it dawned on me that that
- They took a LOT of time to do
- for some people, it was the only time I communicated with them in a year
- were expensive and
- most did not reciprocate.
The moment I decided to can the cards, I got my time back and it gave me extra money for the things that I really love to do during the holidays. If you can’t go cold turkey, then be sure to shop for the cards after Christmas and save them for another year.
For those who live out of your state, give them a brief phone call instead. We have internet phone and it does not cost us a cent to make domestic phone calls.
(I got a great deal when I bundled phone with my cable package and there was no extra charge!)
2. Gift Tags
While we are on the topic of Christmas cards, do what one of my Facebook page fans, Debbie Shrivens does. She uses part of the front cover of her prior year’s Christmas cards and makes them into gift tags for the current year.
Hole punch and a piece of ribbon and ta da!! All done. (and much nicer than the ones you can buy!)
3. The Dinner
Potlucks or buffets are much less expensive than the traditional sit down dinner. And you can mingle with all the guests instead of just talking to the person next to you.
4. The Decorations
Why buy expensive holiday decorations to use as centerpieces, wreaths, etc. There are loads of free raw materials right in your yard.
Evergreen shrubs or trees, such as boxwood or holly, can be cut to make garland and wreaths or added to candles in glass holders for centerpieces.
I also grow Christmas plants in my garden in pots. During the cold months I bring them indoors to use for decorating. They do double duty and garden plants and decorating items, so this spreads the cost of them.
The dollar store has a huge supply of candles. If you don’t have holders, don’t buy them. Just use simple small glasses to hold them. The candles will add great ambiance at very little cost. Use them liberally!
Mix them up in small groups – big ones, medium ones, and small ones for a great effect!
I have not bought a bow for Christmas gifts in many years. Each year when Christmas ends, I got to Walmart or Michaels and buy wire wrapped Christmas ribbon on sale. I make my own floral bows for my packages.
When Christmas is done, I put them in a banana box and store them for the following year. The wire ribbon allows the bow to be fluffed” the next year and they look as good as the day I made them. Some of my bows are 20 years old!
And you cannot beat the look of a floral bow on a Christmas gift. See how to make them in this post.
7. Stick to cash
I know how easy it is to bring out the plastic this time of the year. But if you stick to the cash you have saved for Christmas, you will be thankful in January. This takes planning ahead, of course.
Figure out how much you spend each year and start a dedicated Christmas savings account (remember those?) A little bit saved each month is much easier to fine than a whopping credit card bill in January.
One thing I do, is to save my cash rewards when I get them just for this purpose. They may not be a lot but every little bit helps.
8. Black Friday
Now I am the first to admit that you will never get me near the stores on the Day after Thanksgiving. I’d rather jump off the roof of my house. But Black Friday deals aren’t just for that day.
I currently have a Kohl’s coupon to use this week for 15% off. They call it a Black Friday coupon. I call it my escape from Black Friday.
More and more stores are offering deals the week before Black Friday.
9. Family Fun
Yes, it’s fun to treat the whole family to a new holiday movie but doing so can be very expensive. Dig out your favorite DVD Christmas movies. For me, hands down, it is A Christmas Story.
Have some inexpensive snacks on hand and get ready to all shout “you’ll shoot your eye out” at the same time!
10. Get Crafty
I rarely buy purchased Christmas decoration now. Most of the time, I make my own DIY projects, often reusing crafting supplies from another project.
It is fun to do, and I choose things that will be done quickly and inexpensively like this DIY Candy Cane Vase project.
Have a cookie swap. Each guest brings their own favorite Christmas cookie and you swap with others. At the end of the evening you have a batch of different Christmas cookies at a fraction of the price that store bought ones would be, and so much tastier too!
Combine it with a tree trimming party and serve home made Bailey’s Irish Cream for a night to remember.
12. Enjoy the holiday lights
Our local amphitheater has a light show but they charge about $20 a car to participate. Get your family out the week before Christmas and go on a drive to the areas near you that decorate in style.
For us, it’s a place in NC called Meadow where the locals go all out. For the cost of a drive, you can pack your car and have your own holiday light show
13. The Turkey
Shop around for the turkey. Many stores offer one free for shopping with them for several weeks before the event, (plan ahead!)
And even if they don’t, there is a huge difference on what stores charge for turkeys. Shop wisely!
14. Wrapping paper
I invest in some of the thicker, and glossy finished papers. I try to buy them on sale. I like them because they keep well from year to year.
Thin paper are cheaper to buy, but rarely can be reused.
15. Christmas is for kids
The older I get, the more I believe that. Adults can buy what they want anyway, in most cases. Have a Yankee swap. Each adult brings one gift to a certain amount and then you have the fun of swapping (and stealing!) as the swap progresses.
The money saved on buying for adults can go for more kids gift (or gifts for the needy!)
16. Clean house
Make Christmas money and clean at the same time. Go through your house from top to bottom. What do you have that you no longer use. Have a yard sale, put an ad on Craig’s list, on eBay, or join a buy and sell group.
You will earn some much needed money for Christmas gifts and get your house in order for the holidays all in one smart move.
17. Christmas books
When my daughter was much younger, I bought Christmas books each year. I’ve saved some of my favorites but the extras will go to local second hand book store that takes in used books and gives me money back for them.
18. Shop in Thrift stores
Thrift stores are gold mines for crafty people. And many make great Christmas gifts. Some items that can be used in craft projects are Mason jars.
Turn them into pretty vases, or fill with your favorite cookie recipe and a gift card made from an old Christmas card. Add the recipe on the back and you have a great holiday gift.
19. Make home made gifts
My favorite tip! Don’t think of Christmas a just a time to shop for a few weeks. I shop year round for Christmas.
I buy when things are on sale that I know my recipients will love and store them until Christmas. I save both time and money and it leaves me time at the holidays to spend with friends instead of shopping.
Can you think of some other ways to save time and money during the holidays? Please leave your ideas in the comments below.