Saving money is all well and good, in theory. But when it comes to the holiday season, for most folks, savings goals go out the window. Between buying holiday gifts, paying for holiday travel expenses, splurging on food for your loved ones, and even the costs of hosting friends and family for the holidays, your savings goals likely get trampled into dust before you can even say “happy holidays!”
Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season force you into spending all of your hard-earned money. With a little discipline–and more than a few tips and tricks–you too can save money during the holiday season this year without seeming like a total scrooge! Our friends over at Southern Spray, a local lawn care company here in Nashville, put together this list for how to save money during the holiday season!
1. Set a budget and make a list
First things first: before you even begin your holiday spending, it is important to sit down, make a list of your projected expenses, and make a budget. Think about the gifts you will be giving, the food you will be making, the cost of your holiday decorations and everything in between–and be sure to add a little wiggle room in with the numbers! Once you have your list and your budget, the hardest part is next: actually sticking to it!
*Tip: Check out these resources to help you budget for the holidays:
2. Don’t splurge on decorations
With holiday excitement in the air, it can be more than a little tempting to spend all of your holiday budget at once on home and office decor to show your holiday spirit. Don’t fall into this trap! To ensure that your decor addiction doesn’t get the best of your budget this year, set some guidelines for yourself. Limit your holiday decor purchases only to things that you really need. Focus on centerpiece items, or showstoppers that you can purchase inexpensively. Better yet, DIY some fun decorations with your friends–or, do you dare, the kids!–or break out family heirloom pieces to help your budget stretch a little bit further.
*Tip: Also check out local dollar stores for pretty decent holiday decorations!
3. Save on costly Christmas trees
Yes, they smell amazing and look beautiful, but while they may evoke the epitome of Christmas spirit, Christmas trees are frankly very expensive for something that you only have in your home for a short period. Consider an alternative to a living tree this year, like an artificial tree that you can reuse year after year. They aren’t too expensive, and you won’t have to worry about buying a new one each year.
*Tip: Still want the smell and beauty of the real thing? Go for a smaller, more manageable tabletop tree. You’ll get all of the benefits of a real tree, but at a fraction of the cost.
4. Give handmade holiday gifts
Handmade holiday presents aren’t just for elementary school anymore! With the power of the internet at your disposal, there are tons of different DIY gift ideas out there that are fun, thoughtful, and incredibly cost effective.
*Tip: here are some great DIY gift ideas:
- Tins of homemade cookies.
- Cocoa mix for friends.
- Homemade bath soaps and candles.
- DIY canvas or wall art.
Play to your talents and come up with great gifts to give everyone on your list. A handmade gift isn’t just cost efficient–they show that you care enough about the recipient to spend time crafting them a unique gift that they can treasure for a long time to come. If you have kids, bring them in on it too. Grandparents like nothing better than handmade gifts from grandkids!
5. Embrace the potluck holiday dinner
A whole heap of the holiday costs can come from one holiday meal alone, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Consider making your holiday meal a potluck gathering and have your loved ones bring their favorite dishes to the meal. Your visitors will love the idea of sharing their own holiday recipes with the group, and you may even find a new favorite dish! To spice it up, you can hold a dessert contest for bragging rights. Hosting a potluck style meal can become your next holiday tradition!
*Tip: Come up with an inexpensive prize for your contest and have all your guests vote on their favorite treat. Who doesn’t love a competition?
6. Stay home for the holidays
Has your travel expenses eaten through your holiday budget for the past few years? Why not save a few (hundred) bucks and stay home for the holidays this year? Better yet, you can choose to host your friends and family for your holiday gathering instead of traveling, to save you time, stress and yes–money too.
*Tip: If you have to travel, check out Frontier Airlines for highly discounted rates.
7. Embrace sales, special offers and coupons
When you are getting ready to make your holiday purchases, be on the lookout for special sales, coupons, and special offers. If you are signed up for your favorite store’s email lists, a lot of times they will send you exclusive special offers, especially around the holidays. Rather than instinctively delete these emails, or throw away these promotional pieces in the mail, take a look before you do. You could be missing out on awesome special offers that will help you save a little cash! Using these tools can help make your dollars stretch, and you may find that you have a little extra left over in your budget when all’s said and done!
*Tip: Check out LivingSocial and Groupon for marked down activities, restaurants, products, getaways, and much more!
If you are looking for lawn care for your home in the spring, our friends over at Southern Spray are exclusively offering our readers 10% off your first lawn care service when you sign up for the year. The best part? No contracts are required, and their services are backed by their guarantee.
You can have a great holiday season without breaking the bank. Just stick to these tips for how to save during the holiday season and you can look forward to a happier bank account in the new year!
Let us know–how do YOU save a little extra money during the holidays?