The Holidays are a wonderful time of year, but can become quite expensive when you account for all the gifts you will need to buy, decorations you will put up around your home and parties you will host. Ideally setting a budget would make the most sense, but if you want to be extra frugal during the Holidays, you should tap into your creative side. Your creativity can really help reduce your expenses during the Holidays and help eliminate financial stress.
To help inspire you to be creative this Holiday season, we put together a list of ten ways to save money during the Holidays.
Share Your Time
When you were young and without money, you might have given your mom, dad or other relative a book of services you could provide. From doing choirs for an hour to a five minute shoulder massage, you gave the gift of your time. This type of gift can be an option even as an adult.
Does your sister and brother-in-law need you to babysit your niece(s) and/or nephew(s)? Can you run a quick errand for another family member when they are busy at work? Your services will be an excellent gift and will be quite inexpensive.
Be sure to think about any special skills you might have. If you are good with cars, you might be able to replace a filter or do an oil change for them. If you are good with electrical items, you might be able to replace a wall mounted lighting fixture at their house. Your special skills will be appreciated by most recipients and will even help them save money on hiring someone to do the work.
Make Holiday Decorations
There are tons of awesome decorations at your local stores and online, but they won’t have the same emotional attachment as the ones you make yourself. Plus, they will often be more expensive. Consider buying plain decorations and adding your own touch. Buy some clear ornaments and have you and your family decorate them with paint. The time you spend decorating will be a great opportunity to bond with your family.
Post Holiday Sales
Stock up on all of the discounted Holiday decorations after Christmas ends. The stores need to make room for new inventory, so you will find them discounting everything they need to get rid of (i.e. Holiday decor).
For those hosting a Holiday party, the cost of food and beverages can really add up. To help reduce these expenses, ask everyone to bring a tasty dish to the party. This will even save you some time as you won’t have to prepare the food all day.
Make Your Own Gifts
Does making your own gifts sound like a bad idea? Well, it shouldn’t be! It does help if you have a hobby that would allow you to create a nice gift. Those into sewing or crafting can easily make a nice blanket or decorative piece for the home. Those into photography can take some nice artistic photographs and frame them for the recipient. Most gift recipients love when they receive a thoughtful gift, so making your own gifts will show your thoughtfulness.
When considering making a gift, think about your strengths and what the recipient might enjoy. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate gift, just something nice to show you put in a great deal of thought and effort into their gift.
If creativity isn’t your strong suit, but you still want to find something handmade, try searching online, going to your local flea market or supporting a small business in your community. For those going the online route, there are a ton of great website out their these days that sell unique, one-of-a-kind items. Check out sites like Etsy.com for handmade crafts or Graze for the foodies in your life.
You might not think being unique is inexpensive, but it can be if you just search around. If you attend a craft fair for instance, the seller might be willing to discount items when you buy in bulk. They want to sell something and you need gifts for multiple people, so it’s truly a win-win. Whenever you shop local, unique stores, be sure to negotiate the price of an item.
Here are a few ways to save on activities with your family this Holiday season:
Board Games & Puzzles
Board games are always a great time, especially with all the different types available. Depending on the family’s style, there is a board game to fit every families personality. Funny and silly to serious and educational, just depends on the family style.
My family has a tradition of putting out a puzzle (usually on a small folding card table) so that when guests or any of our family members are looking for something to do they can work on the puzzle. Having everyone participate is a must, as it builds a sense that the family was working together to accomplish something.
Baking & Decorating
Baking and decorating cookies are a great holiday activity. Each family member can cut out their own shape of cookies and place it on their own pan. Once the cookies are baked, it is time to decorate. Different colored frosting and sprinkles can be spread across the table. Let each person express their creativity. Once the cookies are done, enjoy them!
Decorating the Christmas tree is a great activity to do together. Whether the family wants to cut it down together or it is an artificial tree, gather the family together to decorate it. Talk about where each ornament came from and what it means to each person. The ornaments can be passed down to each generation along with the stories.
Holiday displays are also a great family activity. Check to see if a museum is having a special holiday display. Displays can also be found at botanical and sculpture gardens, outdoor parks, and downtown cities. Perhaps your neighborhood has a house that takes decorating seriously, and many in the community flock to see the wonderful lights, hear the sounds of the Holidays, and enjoy the sights of someones hard-work.
Families seem to come together more over the holidays. Encourage that with the activities listed above, maybe even start a new tradition. Holiday activities will bring the family together and create memories for the ages.
Now that you have seen our list of ways to save during the Holidays, what are some of the ways you and your family reduce expenses this time of year? Share your tips with our readers in the comments section below.