If you're feeling the pinch
this year, you're not alone. With the struggling economy and high
unemployment rate, most of us are watching our sad, sad, empty wallets
even closer this season. The gifts, the travel, the feasting --
it all adds up pretty quickly. That's why we gotta keep our eye on the
prize, and our bank accounts, and follow some simple tips for saving money during the holidays. So! Here are 10 ways to do so.
- Don't wait 'til the last minute to shop. When we
procrastinate and find ourselves in a rush, we tend to get flustered,
forget our budget, and just buy whatever the hell is closest to our
fingertips. Make a list, give yourself four or five hours to get it all
done, and head to the mall ASAP. Saving yourself from the Christmas Eve
dash will also save you money.
- Decorate on the cheap. Yes, fresh garland and a Fraser Fur are nice, fragrant touches, but they can be expensive. Have your kids make some holiday crafts
and use those to adorn the house. Also, I find an evergreen scented
candle goes a long way when my fake, plastic garland just isn't giving
off that all-natural aroma.
- Stuff stockings with cheap stuff. No need to go all out with these pre-present time teases. Here are 10 stocking stuffers
under $10 that your kids will absolutely adore. And hey, if it doesn't
fill up the whole sock, stuff an orange at the bottom. That's what my
Santa did growing up.
- Combine your shopping trips. There's a lot of driving around you gotta do to get gifts, food, and trees. Save money on gas by doing it all in one go.
- Pay cash. The last thing you want in January is
holiday debt. Paying cash will ensure you stay on budget and only spend
what you can, when you can.
- Plan a budget-friendly menu. Watch for sales on
food items you'll need to make your feast and try to avoid adding
anything to the menu that isn't already on the list. Yeah, sure, a bowl
of fancy nuts in the living room would be nice, but it's totally
unnecessary, not to mention fattening and appetite-ruining.
- Give the gift of time. As a gift, offer to babysit
while your friends go out on the town, or donate your cooking skills to
make your sister's family a delicious dinner, or walk your neighbor's
dog for a week. Why spend money when you can spend time?
- Move the holiday. Take advantage of the
post-Christmas sales and agree with your spouse that you'll shop for
each other's gifts after the holiday.
- Save on entertainment. Instead of taking your whole
brood to see a movie, search for local holiday light events, or walking
tours, or tree-lighting ceremonies that you can all attend for free.
- Remember the spirit of the season. Thoughtful, from
the heart presents are always appropriate. Think about who you're
buying for, and search sites like Etsy and Pinterest for low-cost or DIY
ideas that they'll love.
What are your holiday money-saving tips?
on Dec. 9, 2012 at 11:00 AM