Christmas time is stressful for most families with wishful children waiting for Santa to do his magic. Here are some easy and common sense ways to save money this year.
Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also easily the most expensive. Following these quick and easy money-saving tips can help make sure that the New Year isn’t ushered in with a pile of new debt.
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Turn Off the Lights Whenever Possible
Everyone loves cheerful Christmas lights on the house and tree, but they can really only be appreciated under two conditions: It has to be somewhat dark, and people need to be home. Before going to bed or leaving the house, turn the lights off to conserve money and electricity. Nobody wants a huge electric bill right after the New Year! Conserve now and save later (not to mention being kind to the planet by reducing the use of resources).
Budget for Christmas Gifts
It’s hard to pass up great deals, especially when they would make great gifts, but it’s extremely important to stick to a pre-determined budget no matter the circumstance. Use a planner like this one to help you keep track.
Be proactive and start in September. Set a spending limit for each family member and do not exceed it. Even small purchases can add up very quickly and it is critical to do as much early shopping as possible. Except for Black Friday, most deals are far deeper in September than they are the week before Christmas.
Shop Online and Save Big
Before purchasing anything at full price from a retail store, check reputable online sites like EBay, Overstock, and Amazon to make sure that the same or a similar item can’t be had for less. Remember to take shipping costs into account and be blunt about requesting free shipping or deeply discounted shipping costs if multiple items are purchased.
Place a $10 Limit on Stuffing each Christmas Stocking
Extra space in Christmas stockings doesn’t have to be filled with expensive gadgets or jewelry. If there’s room left in the stocking after all the gifts have been arranged, just fill the gaps with individually wrapped candies. Make the dollar store the family’s best friend this Christmas – stocking recipients will be just as happy.
Become an Efficient Christmas Kitchen Cook
Wasted food is wasted money and holiday foods can be very expensive. Cook only what’s needed for the family, and make use of any leftovers, especially meats such as turkey and ham that keep very well in the refrigerator. Over the holidays, unless absolutely necessary focus on family time and eat at home. Minimize eating out at all costs, because it will cost dearly.
Wear Sweaters, Cuddle Up and Save the Planet
Just a few degrees on the thermostat can add up to quite a lot of money saved in heating bills and is very good for the planet by reducing resource consumption.
If the family is willing to wear sweaters around the house, try turning the thermostat down a bit lower than usual, especially at night. Is there a better time to bond with friends and family than to cuddle up under a warm & fuzzy blanket on a cold night?
Make, Decorate and Display Edible Christmas Decorations
Crafting homemade decorations and edible Christmas tree ornaments are more fun and much less expensive than purchasing premade items from stores. Plan a family activity night to strand garlands and make ornaments using inexpensive items like popcorn and cranberries.
Consider Well Planned and Frugal Holiday Parties at Home
Small parties sometimes equal big spending, but this doesn’t have to be the case. For example, instead of serving a full meal, try holding a potluck so that everyone chips in.
Families with lots of friends to see can hold an open house with fondue or light hors d’oeuvres. In modern times, BYOB (Bring your Own Bottle) is an acceptable request. When the host is providing drinks, opt for a large holiday punch, with or without alcohol, which will be budget friendly and last most of the night.
Get Cutting (or Clicking) with Big Saving Coupons
Especially around Black Friday, and the frantic weeks leading up to Christmas, stores empty their stock with big holiday sales. Promotional sales and coupons can be a great way to save on gifts during the Christmas season – just make sure to check online, first. Check out our guide on How to Prepare for Black Friday.
Save Money and the Planet with Creative Gift Wrap
Wrapping paper isn’t cheap, and it’s silly to have the cost of wrapping exceed that of the actual gift. When possible, take advantage of stores offering gift wrap for free. If this isn’t possible, get a roll of wrapping paper instead of individual bags with tissue paper. Whenever possible, use unique wrap ideas such as tin cans, decorated boxes and recycled paper that save on the pocketbook and are eco friendly.
These easy tips can help shave lots of money from holiday expenses, and won’t detract from a wonderful Christmas season.