The holidays are one of the best times of the year but how to have a great Christmas without spending money? Is it even possible?
The truth is. Christmas and shopping go together. We start shopping for gifts early and spend money on food and decorations.
There are Christmas songs about finding the perfect gift. Shopping and main street feature in many of my favorites.
Many families feel as if they must have the most beautiful décor, expensive gifts, and a feast fit for royalty. And as experience may have taught you, these things don’t come cheap!
While many people spend a fortune to create a festive holiday season, you don’t have to. After reading this post, you’ll know how to get the best deals on holiday dining, décor, and gifts.
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Frugal Gift Ideas
There’s no need to break the bank when it comes to Christmas gifts. Give what you can.
And, if you’re resourceful, frugal and willing to think outside of the box, you’ll be able to give high quality gifts for a very small amount of money. The best part is that your friends and family are sure to appreciate your efforts because you did more than swipe a card.
Give a DIY Monthly Membership
Subscription boxes are all the rage but they can get pricey.
With these gifts, the recipient receives a basket of goodies delivered to their door each month. The items can range from fresh bouquets of flowers, ripe fruit, baked goods, or even a simple care package.
As enticing as they are, though, the challenge with these membership gifts is that they can cost as much as $400 per month!
So why not design your own monthly membership gift? It’s very inexpensive and simple to do. Plus, you can hand-select the items in your monthly gift without having to pay an additional fee.
Do What You Love
Base your monthly gift around the hobbies which you most enjoy.
Below are a few membership gift ideas based on popular hobbies.
If you love to knit and sew, you can offer a new mom a monthly gift basket filled with handmade baby items. You can even make money knitting if you sell your crafts.
Each month, include a knitted cap, booties, a set of cute patterned burp cloths and a monogrammed diaper cover. Not only will you save the mom money on baby supplies, but you’ll forever be a memory of her angel’s first year.
Here are some projects to get you started:
DIY Baby Items To Make And Sell
8 Quick Gifts To Knit In A Weekend
Baking or Cooking
Treat your friends to a holiday gift that keeps on giving by sending them a monthly basket filled with muffins, homemade chocolate lollipops, brownies, and a dozen of their favorite cookies.
Another idea is to give a “date night” once a month where you provide a cooked dinner and potentially babysit as part of your gift.
If you’re giving multiple monthly membership gifts to your friends, make your life easier by creating a menu at the beginning of each month.
Base the menu around the ingredients you already have at home to save money.
Recipe Jars and Other Mason Jar Gifts
If you’re short on time, or have an uncomfortably small cooking space, save yourself the agony of having to slave away in a cramped kitchen for hours. Instead, give recipe jars filled with all the dry ingredients necessary to concoct their creations.
Jazz up the recipe jars by adding a small layer of fabric to the inside of the jar and then closing the lid over it. Then, wrap a small piece of ribbon over the lid and attach a handwritten recipe card.
If this sounds like an appealing option to you, be sure to use frugal shopping techniques, such as couponing and thrift shopping, in order to score great deals.
If you don’t want to give food gifts, there are tons of other Mason Jar Gifts that don’t cost much to put together.
Save As Much As You Can
The convenience of ready-made gifts often comes with a considerable price tag. But of course, there are strategies to minimize your out-of-pocket expense for dream-worthy gifts.
If possible, start saving for Christmas or holiday gifts at the very beginning of the year.
If you can afford to save $20 per week, by the 1st of December, you’ll have $960 saved up to purchase gifts. This list of Free Budget Printables includes a Christmas budget printable that you can use.
If you’re already living on a tight budget, don’t feel compelled to completely alter your lifestyle in order to sock away money for holiday gifts. Do what you can now, and find gifts that suit your price range later.
If you have a spare $5, put it towards your holiday gift fund rather than that latte. By just making a few smart money choices throughout the year, the savings can be a considerable amount of money by December.
You can simply choose to use the envelope system to hold your savings. Alternatively, you can go the advanced and automated route of starting up a Christmas Club.
Many years ago, Christmas Club savings accounts were popular.
Just be sure to do your research, as you may receive a higher return by investing in a money market account. In addition, some institutions which offer this program charge a penalty if the balance is withdrawn before November.
One of the most popular Christmas clubs is SmartyPig by Sallie Mae
The Smarty Pig savings account can be managed solely over the internet. It can be used to save for events or items, such as Christmas, a wedding, a new computer, a new deck, a down payment for a home, and more.
A unique feature of this website is the ability to ask your friends to contribute towards your goal by linking to the account through Twitter and Facebook. There are also no penalties for withdrawing your money early.
When you’ve met your goal, you can get a check, direct deposit or a gift card. If you choose to receive the money in the form of a gift card from one of the Smart Pig partners, you’ll receive a 12% cash bonus.
Here’s how the bonus works. Let’s say you’ve just reached your goal of saving $2,000 for a laptop from Apple. If you choose to cash out your savings in the form of an Apple Gift Card, Smartypig.com will give you a 12% cash boost. This will be an extra $240 deposited onto your gift card, for a total of $2,240.
It’s an unwritten rule – the holidays require lots of food. When you’re hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner in your home, it may feel as if the entire food bill falls on your wallet.
The good news is that there are a number of ways you can save on the big holiday meal. From potlucks to planning ahead, you can easily cut your Christmas grocery bill in half.
A house decorated for the holidays brings everyone joy.
It may be tempting to stroll into your favorite retailer and stock up on holiday décor. However, in doing so, you’re wasting valuable money on pieces that you can only use for two months out of the year.
There are ways to score seasonal décor for just a few dollars. And below, we’ll cover ways to save money on décor that have the power to ultimately change the way you shop for holiday decorating.
Have a natural Christmas
Scour your backyard for fallen pinecones and perfectly golden fallen leaves. Use the pinecones to create a wreath and scatter the golden leaves across your tabletop in order to achieve a lofty, holiday vibe.
Frame leaves in a shadowbox, or even a $1 photo frame from a discount store. If you’re feeling especially crafty, paint the frames in the shades that most scream “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
Consider filling a hurricane vase with pinecones and placing the vases around your home in order to inspire holiday cheer.
Here are some really fun Wooden Christmas Ornaments To Make And Sell.
Swap holiday décor with a friend
Host a holiday decor swap with a bunch of friends. Everyone can bring things they don’t want anymore and take from other people’s stashes. One man’s holiday trash is another one’s treasure!
DIY Your Decor
The pleasant truth is that most of the overpriced pieces of décor you see in stores can be replicated quite simply at home for pennies on the dollar. You can make your own DIY Christmas ornaments for a fraction of the price of retail.
Start scouring Pinterest for inspirational Christmas decor on a budget. Remember, simple is better. You don’t need to go overboard to have a festive looking home.
Go Bargain Hunting
Never underestimate the power of thrift shopping. Secondhand stores, such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army have many gems for the holidays.
Yard sales are another option, look for decor year round to save even more money.
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