Christmas!! It’s easily one of my favorite times of the year. Family-time, gifts, food, snow, … what’s not to like?
… oh yeah … those thousands of extra dollars that somehow sneak their way into your bills if you’re not careful.
These days, everyone wants to cash-in on your Christmas joy and find new ways to charge you for that big day. However, it doesn’t have to be like that at all.
Here are 21 simple tricks you can use to spend less at Christmas, and focus on what’s really important!
1. Build your cash-stash throughout the year.
If you find yourself strapped for cash around Christmas, then do what I like to do. Put $40 cash per week in an envelope. This money will be specifically for Christmas presents ONLY! By doing this, you’ll easily find yourself with an extra 52 x $40 = $2,080 by the time Christmas rolls around. That should help relieve the financial burden!
2. Make a list.
It’s way too easy to get carried away buying a little of this and a little of that while you’re doing your Christmas present shopping. To keep things better organized, make a list of presents for everyone you want to buy for. Add a budget to each person and stick to it!
Don’t forget to mark off your list as you go. That way you won’t “forget” that you bought something and do it twice. (Yes, we’ve unfortunately done that before …)
3. Research Black Friday ads ahead of time.
Black Friday might “seem” like the time to buy something. But it’s really all hype. Do your research ahead of time online and see if the things you’re after are really worth the hassle. You might just save yourself a lot of trouble for nothing.
4. Consider waiting until Cyber Monday.
These days with online shopping, Cyber Monday has become more of a “thing” than Black Friday, and retailers know this. You might be able to score a better deal on Amazon or some other cyber store than you could find at a normal store.
5. Skip name brands.
When it comes to clothes or certain toys, remember that most kids don’t care about name brand items. You can buy them the cheaper off brand item and more than likely be just fine.
6. Give the gift with the gift receipt.
There’s nothing worse than giving a gift that no one really wants. If you’re unsure about a clothing size or type of toy, give the gift receipt with the item. That way if they don’t like it, they can take it back for a full refund.
7. Give candy.
Need more “filler” in your gift bag? Buy $1 boxes of their favorite candy. It’s a cheap and fun way to make the present look bigger.
8. Give back.
Don’t be a Scrooge! Remember the true meaning of Christmas. If you can afford to, adopt a family or participate in Toys for Tots. Not only is this a good thing to do, but you can also count it as a tax deduction.
9. Use a fake tree.
Real trees cost approximately $50 (or more) per year. Though they look nice, you can celebrate Christmas all the same with a plastic tree that you only have to buy once.
10. Get a second-had tree from Facebook or Craigslist.
People often up-grade their trees just like any other piece of furniture in their house. When they do, that’s your time to cash in on a deeply discounted tree that only gets used once per year. With new trees at the store retailing at $200 to $400, getting a slightly used tree for less than $50 is a steal!
11. Put your tree on a timer.
Having the lights on your Christmas tree lite can be beautiful. But if you leave them on for too long, it will cost you. Save on electricity and buy a simple, inexpensive timer to turn them on and off automatically.
12. Use LED lights instead of the old-fashioned ones.
Just like your lights at home, you’ll use a lot less energy if you use LED instead of the old school lights.
13. Check Home Depot for light trade-ins.
Every once in a while, Home Depot (or other hardware) will offer you a discount if you bring in your old, non-working lights. This way they can be recycled.
14. Scale back on the decorations.
Though they can look nice, expensive displays (especially those with motors) can cost an arm and a leg in electricity to run.
15. Make your own ornaments.
Between Pinterest and your own creativity, you’ll be able to find all kinds of easy-to-do and fun crafts that will give your tree that touch of personality you need.
16. Make your own wreaths.
A well decorated wreath can cost you upwards of $50! You can do a lot better than this by making one yourself. Hit up Pinterest for some ideas and easy to follow directions.
17. Hang your cards.
Hanging your Christmas cards is an easy way to bring that touch of Christmas you want to bring to any spot in your house (like a door that is commonly used).
18. Decorate a pillow to look like a gift.
With a little bit of fabric and a simple bow, this is an easy way to make your living area look more festive.
19. Make your own Christmas centerpiece.
One easy decoration you can create on your own is to put pine-cones from outside or Christmas bulbs in a clear bowl or box. This will create a nice festive centerpiece.
20. Make your own advent calendar.
Skip buying the over-priced advent calendar from the store. Get an old drawer from a second hand store and fill it with goodies. You can the kids can do this one together.
21. Dry off your lights.
After the season is over and you take down your outdoor decorations, make sure your lights are dry before you store them. Boxing them up while they still have moisture on them will cause them not to work next year.
Featured image courtesy Flickr