Ways to Save Money During the Christmas Holidays
It is so easy to get all caught up in the holiday season and overspend on your budget. Between buying gifts, to decorating and entertaining the costs can really add up! Some people don't even have budgets and buy with their credit cards and pay later... pay big time later! I try to treat Christmas like every other holiday that I plan for and have a plan and stick to it so I don't over spend and regret it in the new year. Here are some easy tips to follow to make sure your not "paying"in the new year!
Step 1- Plan ahead for gifts
I try to look for deals year round for the holidays. I look at end of season sales for gifts that people might like. The end of summer is a great time to pick up toys for the kids! I also try to pick up generic gifts on sale that anyone could use. That way, when you forget to buy that one gift for someone at the office or a relative or that one person who you didn't think would buy you a gift does (this always happens!) you will have something on hand. Being the organized person I am I keep a list of extra gifts I have on hand. Planing ahead also help you get the best prices. If you are looking for something specific, you have the time to find the best deals!
Step2- Shop around/price match/coupons
Don't just buy something the first time you see it. If I like something I will do some research. There are so many stores out the that will price match now. You can also look online for the best prices. You don't have to drive around to the different stores now you can just checkout the website online for a stores prices. Amazon and Ebay are also great places to get deals. If you are buying online, make sure you check if the item you are buying has a coupon code. I usually google the product name and google coupon codes and a lot of the time you will find a code to enter online that will save you a percentage off your purchase. Using the coupons you clip will also save you money.
Step 3- Make a budget and stick to it
I make out a budget for everything right down to the amount I want to spend on groceries and I stick to it. I almost never overspend on it and this saves me money in the new year. You don't have to overspend just because it is a holiday. Since you are shopping throughout the year anyways and getting great deals, you shouldn't have to overspend.
Step 4- Use your stockpile
I try to buy items ahead of time for my stockpile that I might use for the holidays. For example, if you like to bake during the holidays, make sure you stockpile baking items that you will need to eliminate the need to run to the store and buy the baking items full price. Buy doing this you won't need to budget much for extra food for the holidays! I always stock up on baking items early!
Step 5- Reuse/Refurbish your decorations and wrapping
I had a nasty habit of buying new decorations every year at Christmas. Now I reuse the ones I have and if I want to change things up I put them in a new location or repaint/fix them when needed. I almost alwyas get somekind of decorations as gifts so I use them as well. I use all of my wrapping paper instead of buying new every year. Also make sure to reuse old tissue paper and gift bag. I never throw them out unless they are damaged!
Step 6- Buy after Christmas/Boxing day sales
If I do want to have new decorations, or wrapping paper or cards, I wait until after Christmas when items go on sale for 50-90% off and buy them then for the next year. The biggest mistake is buying holiday items at full price!
Step 7- Make you own gifts
People always love homemade gifts and they are pretty inexpensive! I like to do some baked goods and treat as well as DIY crafts. There re so many easy recipes you can follow that are great for gifts.
Step 8- DIY ideas
I am a huge fan of making my own cards, decorations and even wrapping paper. Its really easy to do even if your not the craftiest of people. Sometimes when something is homemade it means more even if it costs less.
Step 9- Pot lucks
Instead of throwing a huge party and spending a fortune on food and drinks, make it a potluck party. Potlucks are a lot of fun because you get to try different dishes or have favorites that you wouldn't normally get to have and it cuts back your expenses. It will also help cut back the time it will take you to get ready for the party! Next time if someone ask if they can bring anything say yes!
Step 10- Gift exchanges
There are sometimes when its a fun idea to do a gift exchange. at work, parties and extended relatives is a great time to implement this idea! Instead of buying for everyone, set a limit on one gift and do either a secret Santa, draw names, or do a Chinese gift exchange where you make it into a game. This will cut back spending in a huge way and it's a lot of fun!
Step11- Do together gifts
My husband an I often will buy something bigger that we need for the house and only do a stocking for each other instead of gifts. I would rather watch the kids open their gift anyways and that way we both get something we want and need for the house. I wouldn't suggest doing this with anyone other than your significant other though.
If you follow even a few of these steps for the holiday season I guarantee you will save money. Christmas time doesn't have to be a time to dread, or overspend. Being organized early is the most important step and will save you the most money!
There are a lot of ways to have fun as a family year round and spending little to no money. Here are 50 of the just to name a few that are simple, easy and fun for the whole family!
- Fingerpaint with you favorite flavor of pudding
- Go play at the park together
- Go for a bike ride
- Bake some cookies
- Play a board game
- Go sledding in the winter
- Have a backyard camp-out
- Take a trip to the library
- Mystery Treasure Hunt – Hide written clues in various places around the house that lead from one to the next. At the end hide a treat as a treasure to find as a reward for seeking the prize.
- Have a water war with squirt guns or water balloons
- Play charades
- Go swimming at your local rec center
- Snow art- Use spray bottles with water and a little food coloring. These can be sprayed on the snow to create art or to write names in the snow. It is best to do this on snow that is over grass to avoid any food coloring getting on pavement or concrete.
- Make a collage – Find old newspapers, magazines and just about anything colorful. Trim out small pieces and glue them all onto paper for a unique work of art.
- Do a large puzzle as a family
- Go skating
- Play a sport such as soccer or basketball in your yard
- Have a movie night
- Go for a nature walk
- Go for a family drive and get icecream
- Volunteer at an retirement home
- Have a picnic
- Play with bubbles
- Run through a sprinkler or make a slip-n-slide out of garbage bags
- Have a sleep over
- Build a fort using boxes or couch cushions
- Play dress-up and put on a play
- Do a lemonade stand and sell cookies as well
- Walk your dog or offer to walk your neighbors dog
- Fly a kite
- Build a family scrapbook
- Go fishing
- Make homemade playdough
- Have a dance party
- Do some crafts
- Go to the beach
- Write a story and act it out
- Do a puppet show
- Pumpkin or apple picking
- Rake the leaves and make a scarecrow or jump in the pile
- Make a snow fort
- Play cards
- Do a family talent show
- Do family Olympics in your yard
- Have the kids teach you a video game or play
- Feed ducks a geese
- Wash the car together
- Start a family journal