Tips for Saving Money This Holiday Season
It’s the holidays again. It’s supposed to be a time when thoughts turn to family and love and kindness. But what if all you can think about is how you’re going to afford to give everyone on your list a nice present?
If budget woes are stressing you out, take a few minutes—and a few deep breaths—to read these helpful tips.
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Scale It Down
The holidays do not have to be expensive. You can scale down everything that you think is expected of you to a nice manageable amount.
If your time and energy are zapped as well as your wallet, you’re doing too much. You don’t have to give an expensive store-bought gift to every single person you know.
There are alternatives that are just as festive—and thoughtful.
Stretching Your Holiday Bucks
No one’s going to ask you to make crafts out of toilet paper rolls or recycled egg cartons. Those are fine for the kids to do.
But if you want grown up crafting ideas, think Martha Stewart. Her ideas are upscale and (mostly) doable with materials you can find in any craft store. Check out www.marthastewart.com. She’s got ideas for crafts that will be received with joy and won’t cause you to blow your whole budget.
Edible Gift Ideas
Think homemade edibles. Everyone loves to eat. And a gift that you made yourself that’s also yummy is a delightful surprise. Invest in the best quality ingredients you can afford. Go for the best gourmet chocolates and nuts.
Also think about the jars or storage containers you’re going to present your gifts in. Mason jars make divine containers for everything from peanut brittle to truffles and cookies. Get the biggest sizes they have. Stock up around early fall when canning season is at its peak. Wait too long and the stores won’t carry them anymore.
Neat Goodie Ideas
Find a recipe or signature dish that you will gift to everyone. You’ll save money if you can buy in bulk.
If your chocolate chip cookies are known around the country, give them as welcome gifts to everyone from coworkers to the mailman to your children’s teachers. No one will complain. In fact, you may start a new tradition that everyone looks forward to each year.
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Set a Budget
What if you don’t want to gift food or make a craft? Then you’ll just have to take a good look at your gift-giving list and narrow it down.
Decide on a price you can afford to spend on everyone and stick to it. If you can only afford a $10 gift in order to get everyone something, that’s fine. It’s better than getting yourself into debt and causing yourself more stress.
Frugal Holiday Recipes
Choose Cash - Not Credit
Which brings up the next point…use cash only. If you have to take out a stack of actual cash money to pay for something, you’ll spend less than you would with plastic. It’s an emotional response. You don’t want to see your hard-earned cash leaving your hands, so you’ll be more selective about what you spend it on.
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Try Grab Bags
Consider a family grab bag this year. Instead of buying everyone a gift, put everyone’s name into a hat and each person chooses one member of the family they will buy a gift for.
Be sure to set a dollar amount that everyone sticks to no matter what!
By cutting down your list to just one person instead of many, it will lighten your load and your spirits too.
If you can’t imagine the holidays without a huge feast, plan smart and still have everything you want. If everyone’s coming to your house, plan to do a big roast or turkey and have others bring their own holiday food gifts for the table.
Go to a warehouse club to purchase meat in bulk so you save more money. Instead of serving a full (and pricey) open bar, offer wine and sodas. Guests can bring their own liquor or just drink what’s served. Just spread the word that it’s BYOB and no one will have reason to complain.
Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
Reuse whatever you can. Do you really have to buy another set of paper reindeer dishes when last year’s are still in the closet untouched?
Do you have leftover Christmas cards or other holiday party favors you can use this year? No one will remember what the design was from last year.
And by the way, you don’t have to send a card to every person you have ever met in your life. You can narrow down your list and save on time and postage costs.
Holiday Party Plates
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