Between buying gifts, decor and food for the holidays, your total costs can really start to add up. However, you can be frugal this season without sacrificing a beautiful and traditional holiday. Get creative and save yourself a whole lot of green this year with these simple ideas:
Set a budget
If you don’t set limits on how much you can spend, you may just keep shelling out money. Come up with a list of family and friends you would like to buy gifts for, figuring out an approximate amount to spend on each person. Don’t forget to include yourself on your shopping list – after all, you deserve to splurge. Next, make room in your budget for decorations, food, travel and party favors. Having a number of what you can spend in mind prevents you from exceeding your financial limits.
Have a potluck meal
Having your friends or family over for Thanksgiving or Christmas is definitely a holiday tradition that you shouldn’t have to forgo. Instead of making every appetizer, side dish, main course and dessert yourself, consider having a potluck where everyone brings something different. By going this route, you can still enjoy a thought-out, delicious dinner but you won’t have to stress about buying or making anything – best of both worlds.
Buy an assortment pack of cards
During this time of year, sending out holiday cards is a must. They’re a simple way to keep in touch with your loved ones and let them know what’s going on in your life. If you have friends and family who celebrate different holidays, however, you’re going to need a variety of cards. Instead of buying each card separately, which can be pricey, consider purchasing an assortment pack, which allows you to always have a bunch of different holiday cards on hand when you need them. If you ever forget to send someone on your list a card, you can just grab one from your collection and won’t have to worry about having to order cards last minute and pay shipping costs.
I’ve definitely been guilty of heading to the stores on Dec. 24, and I’m sure I’m not alone on that one. But this year, I’m searching for deals well before the Christmas season sets in. After all, there may be clothing or toys that go on sale now, so why not take advantage of those deals? Keep your eyes peeled in the stores for a discounted gift someone on your list might love. If you already have a present in mind, do online research to figure out which retailer has it for the lowest price.
DIY your gifts
While you may have to get store-bought gifts for a few people on your list, other presents you can make yourself. For instance, make some cookies and stack a few up and tie together with holiday ribbon to give to your neighbors or craft your own coasters complete with family photos for a brother or sister.
Use alternative gift wrapping
Sure, gift wrap from the store is cute, but I don’t think anything can beat homemade gift wrapping. It can be as elaborate or as simple as you would like. Cover brown kraft paper with your favorite stencil or use tissue paper to create your own bow – check out more ideas here.
Opt for LED lights
LED holiday lights aren’t just better for the environment, they’re better for your wallet too. In fact, they use up about 99 percent less energy than traditional lights. When you use LED lights, your energy bill will be much lower than years prior, and is there a better Christmas gift than that?