Let’s be honest we love the holiday season but could live without all of the expenses. Over the last few years I have come up with some great, easy ways to save money during the holiday season.
1. Holiday Greeting Cards- My first Christmas on my own I spent way to much to get cards made and sent out, probably about $150. However, I learned that cards go on sale and that the longer you wait the better. You can pick up some nice cards, on sale, a week before and they will still get to your loved ones on time. Last year I didn’t even send cards, instead I just called people; they all seemed happier that I called rather than just sending out a card. This year I might send postcards instead because I don’t have a lot of free time to call everyone and postage on postcards is cheaper than a regular card.
2. Wrapping Paper- This might not seem like it’s that costly but it does add up pretty quickly. One cute thing to do, that my parents did, is to wrap gifts with the comic section of the newspaper. This is really good for people that have a favorite one personally I love Garfield. You could also use pretty or festive pages from magazines. I highly recommend making your own tags from extra wrapping paper or print them on blank mailing labels. If you are really careful about opening your presents then you could always reuse the paper next year. My family doesn’t always reuse wrapping paper but we do reuse the bows and ribbons on top.
3. Decorations- It’s important to remember that you do NOT have to decorate at all. However if you want to do it and avoid paying a lot of money there are a couple things to save you some money. Reuse as many decorations as possible and if you have to buy something wait for the sales. My first Christmas tree (that I still use) cost me $10 on sale (50% off) about two weeks before Christmas. Another thing to remember is the cost of the electricity used to light up everything so buy a timer to control how long your lights are on for and to automatically shut them off. You could also decorate with things that don’t require any power. For example, you could easily use pine cones, acorns and good old fashioned popcorn to help you decorate.
4. Presents- Now this one is always putting a dent in the bank account but there are a few ways to give everyone a little something. You could make things for people like scarf or blanket. Last year my sister actually made a fantastic citrus body scrub for all of the women in the family using salt, grapefruit juices and stored it in mason jars. You could also buy things that multiple people will like, such as the Grandma Maud’s products on Amazon, and give them out as gifts. If you’re really tight on cash and can’t spend any money on presents there is still a way to give things. My husband and I actually “stole” things from each other, wrapped them, and then put them under the tree. I took his phone while he was sleeping on Christmas Eve and he took our cat while I was showering Christmas Day. It was definitely interesting to open up a box with my cat in it but she was having fun with it. There is one final trick that my mother has been doing for years. She will buy a few presents just so we (my sister & I) have something to open on Christmas Day and then she takes us shopping during the sales that happen after the holidays.
Hopefully these little tips and stories will help you make the best of the holiday season without draining your bank account. And as always, if you have any more ideas or stories please share them with us here or on Facebook.
~Chef Lindsay Sebion