Living a Better Life™
(featured column... from the editor's desk)
39 Frugal Tips for Saving Money at Christmas
by Michelle Jones
There are a gazillion ways to save money, which is one of the reasons why I love my job so much. The information we share with you each year here at Better Budgeting is overflowing. And the holidays are certainly one of those times when we need to implement as many money-saving tips as we can; so that we can spend less and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas! More...
I’ve listed 39 simple ways to save money during the Christmas holidays below, you may have tried some of them already but hopefully there will be a few more ideas you can add to your frugal holiday traditions.
2. Send postcards or letters, instead of Christmas cards.
3. You can even cut your old Christmas cards from last year in half, and send the pretty side as a postcard. I did this many years and it works great, plus you’re being ‘earth friendly’ by keeping new cards out of the garbage dumps.
4. If you send postcards, whether purchased or homemade, remember they require less postage than a regular card!
5. Christmas cards always go on sale in December, and the longer you wait the better!
6. If you purchase inexpensive cards at a discount store be sure to look at them carefully. Some actually look cheap, while others are much prettier. If you’re going to buy Christmas cards they might as well look nice!
7. For friends and family that live out of state or out of the country make a brief phone call and your loved ones would probably much rather hear your voice than receive a card in the mail.
9. The comic section of your newspaper also makes nice wrapping paper. (I once saved them up for a few months before Christmas and had enough to make a gift out of a relative’s favorite comic strip. They loved it!)
10. Use your children’s artwork, or create your own on plain paper… the large reams of packing paper are great for this, contact anyone who’s in the process of moving!
11. Save used wrapping paper all through the year, just roll them back onto the paper tube and place a small piece of scotch tape on the edge to hold in place. These really work great for small gifts where the previously folded lines won’t even show. If the paper is the wrong theme, you could just turn it over and decorate the plain side yourself.
12. No need to buy expensive ribbons and bows to decorate your packages, if you hunt around you can find the cheap stuff that will be just as pretty!
13. Make your own gift tags by cutting a small piece of matching wrapping paper and folding it in half. Our family has been doing this for decades. Write the “To and From” on the inside of the paper and tape it to the wrapped present. This is also great for scraps of paper that are too small to wrap a gift, but too large to toss away.
14. Cut up old Christmas cards make wonderful gift tags too!
15. If you sew, you could also use scrap material to wrap gifts.
16. Or inexpensive tissue paper that you’ve saved from other gifts throughout the year. Then decorate the wrapped gift with little smiley faces, Christmas trees, or even just the words “Merry Christmas!” You could even add some glitter if you have some on hand.
18. Don’t decorate with expensive things!!!
19. The stores have incredible sales every year for decorations, buy close to the holiday or even better, after the holiday! You could fill your house with beautiful holiday decorations every year (if you wanted to), for a small fraction of what they originally cost!
20. Save your children’s (or grandchildren’s) holiday crafts and artwork from school each year, after a few years you’ll have a houseful of free and beautiful decorations! And the joy your child will feel seeing his/her artwork proudly displayed year after year is priceless.
21. Have a warm and cozy Christmas the old-fashioned way. Pop some popcorn and string it up all over the house!
22. Add some cranberries to your popcorn string for a touch of color, very pretty.
23. Decorate your house by bringing the outside in, using pinecones and acorns. Sprinkle with a few drops of pine scented oil if you have it on hand, I know a lot of you just might!
24. Invest in a good quality artificial tree after Christmas - when they go on CLEARANCE SALE! Buy good quality because they will last many more years.
25. And don’t try to get all your tree ornaments in one year (this one is especially true for young people just starting out), it took your parents years to collect what they have… and each ornament is more special because of it.
Food:26. Many grocery stores are offering great deals during the holidays, some are even giving away food, or cash! Read the paper every week for your local deals, or if you don’t subscribe to the newspaper, pick up the free ad flyers at the store and take it home so you’ll have time to look it over really good before shopping. (You can also read many of your sale flyers online at our GrocerySavingTips.com site and print free coupons each week!)
27. Also, when you're visiting our Grocery site, you'll be able to read hundreds of our free tips on saving money at the grocery store and cut your food bill in half, with or without coupons!
28. Compare prices! I like to buy whatever’s on sale at one store, then a few days later when we need more milk anyways, I go to a different store and get their best deals. It’s a great money-saver!
29. Store brands are great when making casseroles and side dishes… no one will even notice!
30. Cook your turkey in a large Reynolds cooking bag and you won’t need to buy an expensive Butterball, any brand of Turkey should turn out great!
31. Stock up while everything’s on sale, just an extra can or box here and there… not a storage closet full! If you end up with too many bargain buys, share them with your local food bank! :o)
Entertainment:32. It’s wonderful to take your family to the movie theater during the Christmas holiday break, but this could also be a good time to catch up on the videos that have come out for rental during the holiday season. With Netflix you can rent DVDs online or stream movies instantly. No more charges for late fees or crazy amounts of money spent on popcorn!
33. Another great and frugal way to entertain the family through the holidays is to take a drive around your town, or another town nearby to see their Christmas lights. It’s a family tradition of ours to do this during Christmas week and we look forward to it every year!
34. Get out the board games, the kids will love spending time with you. If you don’t have many to choose from, maybe you can borrow a new game from a friend or neighbor. You never know, they might have a closet full they never even use and would be delighted to share them with you!
35. Playing cards is always fun too, even when the kids are little you can play Go Fish… we’re making memories here folks!
36. Sing, sing, sing! Many churches and groups even have caroling get-togethers in December, what fun!
37. Sit around a warm fire, or cozy up in the living room with blankets and Hot Cocoa. Tell family stories… or have everyone take turns saying how they have been blessed throughout the year, like we do at Thanksgiving. Being thankful shouldn’t end in November, keep the spirit going!
38. Have a family gathering to decorate the tree, wrap gifts, or bake cookies. (And if you do enjoy baking cookies, we'd love to have you join our Cookie Club!)
39. Check out a Christmas book from the library and read it together as a family. Or, decide on a story and have everyone contribute a chapter to create a new Christmas book... maybe even one about your own family! :o)
Wishing You And Your Family
A Very BLESSED Christmas!!!
Copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Michelle Jones. All rights reserved.
For reprinting permission please contact editor. You are welcome to link to this page. :o)
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