The holidays are coming over the horizon and they always arrive with quite an expense. Late fall and winter come with their own surprise costs like needing new snow tires, fixing a frozen pipe that has burst, and the kids not fitting into their snowpants anymore. Add in presents for the whole family, special friends, and even a Secret Santa at work, and the expense is through the snow-covered roof. Here are some ways to save money, be more frugal, and keep holiday costs lower.
Make agreements with friends and family for you to all save money by setting spending limits. Or agree on no gifts at all. Instead, plan something else like a potluck party together where the fun you’re having and memories you’re making is your gift to each other.
Decorate with what you’ve already got. It might be tempting to get a whole new set of lights, ornaments, candle holders, napkins, or what-have-you, but these can all add up, even when they all seem cheap individually. Keep your decorations minimal and classy with a tree and your favourite nostalgia-filled decorations.
Sell your unwanted or broken jewellery, watches, coins, antiques, high end bags, and anything made with authentic gold, silver, platinum, and precious stones. It’s easy to turn your gold into cash that is just sitting around in a box or even hiding in the basement or attic. Turn those heirlooms into money you can use. If you only need some extra money temporarily that you can pay back, think about pawning items as an option, too. Look for shops that emphasize customer service, discretion, reputation, and respect for their customers.
Take advantage of points programs. Use your points cards – credit cards, club cards, and points awarded when you buy – all year ‘round, and then only use the points near the end of the year to buy gifts for free or to get money back to spend on them.
Also, in terms of planning ahead, spread all your holiday spending out over the year. It will be easier to handle when it’s a little bit here and there instead of one giant hit in October, November, or December. Buy things when you notice they’re on sale. Look for things in the off-season when they go on clearance. Take advantage of day-after-Valentine’s Day sales or week-after-Mother’s Day sales to get a present for your sweetheart or Mom for Christmas.
Don’t forget the value of something handmade. The materials are way cheaper and the labour only costs your effort and time. Make your own ornaments for an office party gift. Whip up a batch of cookies or brownies with holiday icing. Wrap up your own homemade soap, loose leaf herbal teas, candles, or knitted winter wear.
Be more frugal at home. Many things that are cheaper are also healthier if you make the right choices. Save on your grocery bill by eating more vegetarian meals, like a cheesy bean burrito instead of a pulled pork one. Eat out and order takeout less – cooking from scratch is healthier and much, much cheaper. Go vintage by shopping at thrift stores and holding regular clothing swaps with friends. Don’t buy clothes every season that are hyper-trendy and you’re only going to wear for a few months. Make your own household products like cleaners and skincare items.
Be creative, open and honest with loved ones, and think ahead to save money before the holidays come.