The holidays don’t have to be an expensive time of year! Use these 6 Budget Saving tips to make this Christmas season one to remember and not for the credit card bills that arrive in January!
DIY it up! Of course the first thing most of us think about when it comes to Christmas on a budget is, “How do I give good gifts?”. The answer is simpler than you might think! Even if you aren’t crafty, you can still make amazing gifts by following tutorials on YouTube, Pinterest, and other websites.
Many blogs have step-by-step instructions for any craft you can think of. Body scrubs, lotions, lip glosses, soaps, or even rice packs make great gifts for women. Men are usually more difficult to figure out – you wouldn’t exactly knit them a scarf – but there are simple crafts like coffee mugs with painted mustaches on, or even a handmade tic-tac-toe board that you make with a piece of wood by drilling a few holes in.
Don’t stress, don’t make it complicated, just have fun with it. I start by making a list of people I’m giving gifts to. Then, I separate them into categories. Would Aunt Suzy and Cousin Delilah appreciate knitted potholders? Would Uncle Dan and Aunt Amanda like a customized wooden plaque to hang in their cabin? The key to making the perfect gift is to put thought into it. If you don’t know the person very well, rice packs are usually safe because they aren’t scented and everyone gets aches that they like to use hot/cold on.
For kids, it’s even easier! You can put together cute little bags from the Dollar Tree for just a few bucks a piece, or make them dolls and other little toys and they will be overjoyed! While Christmas isn’t supposed to just be about gifts, they’re fun to give and they’re fun to receive. So instead of cutting the budget in the gift department, just get creative. Everyone will thank you for it, and you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Plan ahead. As you can see by the tip above, planning is essential to affording the Christmas. For us, Christmas means big meals with big family. Instead of downsizing the dinner table, have each family bring a dish – kind of like a pot luck – and the cost will be cut into small portions for each person rather than one family having to pay for everything.
Some good dishes to bring to a pot luck holiday dinner:
— Mac & Cheese Casserole
— Loaded Mashed Potatoes
— Sweet Potato Casserole
— Green Bean Casserole
— Shepherd’s Pie
Desserts are always a safe bet, too! Plus, they’re usually cheaper to bake. Not a great cook? Offer to bring paper plates, a cheese platter, a fruit platter, or refreshments.
Don’t sweat it. You don’t have to go all out just because it’s the holiday season. You can decorate your tree with supplies from the Dollar Tree – or even with a paper chain that the kids help make! Take a rope and some clothespins, and hang mismatched mittens and hats as a garland.
Shop online. Shopping early is usually the best way to save money. I recommend shopping year-round, just grabbing a few things here and there and stocking up. However, if Christmas is already approaching, act fast by watching the Amazon deals daily and the Hot Holiday Deals I share. Don’t forget to set your budget first though!
Use coupons. Many couponers have a “gift closet” that is stocked full of items they bought for pennies on the dollar (or got for free!), that they can use for birthday and Christmas gifts. If you don’t coupon already, now is a great time to start! The easiest thing to save money on? Health and beauty items! So, stock up on shampoos, razors, toothpaste, etc and put together a cute gift basket. You can get nice baskets from Goodwill for a buck or two. If you don’t see any during your first trip, keep looking! Gift baskets are personalized, and are a great way to show someone that you care.
At the end of the day, Christmas is about spending time with family and enjoying yourselves. Don’t sweat the small stuff, just take it one day at a time and be thankful for the small stuff. Leave your Christmas on a budget tips in the comments!