Spreading holiday cheer does not have to cost a lot of money. While some aspects of the holiday season are about giving, it doesn’t have to be all about spending. There are plenty of ways to show your love and appreciation without spending a fortune. Use these strategies so you can have a great holiday season without going into debt.
Start Saving Early
It’s not at all crazy to start preparing for the holiday season as soon as the previous one ends. It could end up saving you a great deal of money each year. Decide who you’ll need gifts for and then make a list. As you shop around throughout the year, you can keep an eye out for the items on your list. Stores markup items heading into the holidays knowing that last-minute shoppers will have no choice but to overpay.
When it comes to entertaining guests during the holidays, keep in mind that you will likely have to spend some money. This doesn’t mean that you can’t spend smartly. Shop for holiday specials. If you’re entertaining many guests, consider discount warehouses for some of the items you need. If you find a turkey or ham on sale months away from a big holiday meal, buy it then and freeze it. This will save you loads of money over shopping the weekend before Christmas when everything is marked at full price.
Also, consider a potluck. Most sane people enjoy potluck dinners because it creates more variety and camaraderie among the guests. It’s a great way to save not only money, but time preparing many different dishes.
Your home cache of decorations is something you can build on from year to year. Re-use decorations from previous years before buying new ones. Don’t forget about handmade items either. Quality decorations can be handed down to children. Look into shopping for decorations right after the holidays are over. You can get Christmas lights and fake Christmas trees for pennies on the dollar in early January.
Get children involved with the decorating process. They’re home from school anyways, so have them string up popcorn or draw and color ornaments. Kids love treats so teach them how to bake cookies or make candy rather than buying a sack of pure sugary stuff at the supermarket.
Homemade gifts are generally more highly regarded than something store bought because people appreciate the time and effort that goes into them. Plus, supplies needed for a homemade gift are often much cheaper than other gifts and may already be on hand.
Keep an eye out for special holiday deals year-round when it comes to gifts. You can find deals throughout the shopping season and not just on big sale days such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Websites such as Amazon.com have constant hourly deals year-round that may allow you to save additional money on items you were going to purchase later anyways.
No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, you can always “Secret Santa” the gifts to keep costs down. Each person will draw someone’s name out of a hat and has a strict limit on price. When it comes time to exchange gifts, you only need to buy and open one gift.
Activities With the Kids
Kids love the holidays, but they enjoy spending together with you the most, not buying them a bunch of mass produced stuff.
Start a family tradition that the whole family can look forward to doing every year for years to come. This can easily be something that doesn’t involve spending any money at all. Watching the same holiday movies every year is a great place to start!