Save Money During Holidays
The cost of the 12 gifts of Christmas is rising each year. But you don’t need to spend that much to show your love for people around you. Spend less during holidays and you will stress less while enjoying more the true meaning of Christmas. Try out these 12 (and an extra) holiday traditions for a frugal yet fabulous festive season.
down your Christmas card to-send list. Your family and friends will understand if it's not in your budget to send Christmas cards this year. For loved ones who live out of state or out of the country, just make a brief phone call because they would probably much rather hear your voice than receive a card in the mail.
- Beware of Christmas cards on sale. There’s a lot of it after the holidays which you can use next year. But if you purchase inexpensive cards at a discount store, be sure to look at them carefully. Some actually look cheap, while others are much prettier. If you’re going to buy Christmas cards they might as well look nice!
- Widen your wrapping options. Use pretty magazine pages to wrap small gifts. Even the comic section of your newspaper also makes nice wrapping paper. Use your children’s artwork, or create your own on plain paper.
- Reuse old wrappers. Wrapping papers last Christmas can be rolled back onto the paper tube that can be secured with a small piece of scotch tape on the edge. These really work great for small gifts where the previously folded lines won’t even show.
- Do not buy gift tags. Just cut a small piece of matching wrapping paper and fold it in half. Write the “To and From” on the inside of the paper and tape it to the wrapped present. This is also great for scraps of paper that are too small to wrap a gift, but too large to toss away. You can also use old Christmas cards as gift tags too!
- Tone down on your decorations. Don’t decorate with expensive things. Instead, use your children’s (or grandchildren’s) holiday crafts and artwork from school. If you want to go for store-bought decorations, buy close to the holiday or even better, after the holiday! Or decorate with nature to minimize the cost. Decorate your house by bringing the outside in, using pinecones and acorns.
- Look around the house and garden for Christmas tree substitutes. There's no rule that says it has to be pine or spruce. Potted bay trees make wonderful features when strung with fairy lights. Even some hardy house plants can support a bauble or two and can be positioned throughout the house to add festive sparkle.
- Stock up early. If you've ever been to the grocery store on December 23, you know there's a mad dash for all of the Christmas staples as everyone prepares to cook their holiday feasts. To avoid a scuffle over the last box of stuffing, set out to do your Christmas food shopping early. In the weeks leading up to the holiday, grab a few non-perishable items you'll need for Christmas dinner. This spreads the cost out over a few weeks instead of a large grocery bill right before Christmas. Plus you avoid shortages of your holiday favourites.
- Think about turkey alternatives. With everyone going mad for turkeys, sales of other meats suffer, so they're discounted more regularly. Roast beef is a popular alternative to a turkey and chances are you'll already have horseradish sauce in your fridge so you won't have to splash out on cranberry sauce, stuffing, or other trimmings.
- Look out for special drinks deals. Drinks are one thing you can buy in advance as and when you see the deals. Try not to be seduced by posh champagne labels, even if they're heavily discounted, supermarket-label wines and champagnes can be just as good and you'll save even more money. If you're having a party, don't buy your Christmas Eve/Day drinks until that's out of the way - you may have enough left over to get you through Christmas without spending any more cash!
- Host frugal celebrations. Catch up on the videos that have come out for rental during the holiday season instead of taking your family to the movie theatre. Take a drive around your town, or another town nearby to see their Christmas lights and make it your family tradition every year. If you want to relive your childhood, plan a sledding party followed by hot cocoa and Christmas cookies. Your guests will probably enjoy themselves much more than they would at a formal dinner party. The point of Christmas get-togethers is spending time with family or friends anyway.
- Share the cost of Christmas. Gather as many members of the family together as you can. Each person can provide one element – the turkey, booze, puddings, etc. You could also set up a Secret Santa scheme. Each person buys a gift for one other person, chosen by ballot, spending to an agreed limit. Alternatively, make opening cheap treats more fun by putting them, wrapped, into a festively-decorated dustbin filled with shredded newspaper and turning present-giving into a Lucky Dip.
Best of all…
Give time instead of gifts. Offering your time instead of a gift is more meaningful and less expensive. Consider the recipient and how your time could benefit him or her. For example, you might offer a night of babysitting for your friend who is a new mom, or you can donate time as a group for a selected charity instead of exchanging gifts at home. After the volunteer efforts, enjoy a meal together at a restaurant. You save money on gifts and spread holiday cheer with family and friends.