Christmas can become overwhelming when you’re on a tight budget. But the spirit of the season calls for merriment, excitement, and anticipation – not stress and anxiety. Gallup’s 2014 annual poll found that nearly a quarter of Americans anticipated spending $1,000 or more on Christmas. In the spirit of helping you save money, here are 7 tips to help this Christmas season be as least financially stressful as possible!
Cut Your Own Tree
This is my favorite way to save money because it also affords a great opportunity to be together as a family and enjoy a fun activity. We live on 5 acres of land so it’s not a hard proposition for us to go out and find a suitable tree. If you live somewhere where this is not possible, ask around to your friends. You might be surprised at how many people would love for you to come get your tree from their property. There are also Christmas tree farms that offer trees much more inexpensively if you harvest it yourself. Our tree is not perfect…there are gaps and the boughs aren’t as full as I would like, but it was free and it is its own kind of beautiful.
Have a Christmas Gift Exchange
When my husband and I first got married we tried to buy a gift for each person in our families. Since we both come from large families this became way too expensive in a hurry and we found that we’d have to come up with some way to save money. The solution our families came up with was to have a Christmas gift exchange. It is great fun to draw names and see who is our Christmas buddy. Our family of 4 is giving 8 gifts (2 families = 2 gift exchanges). This is a much more feasible option than giving 135 gifts. (Ok, I am exaggerating a little!)
Shop All Year
If you plan on doing a Christmas exchange, it’s a good idea to draw your names right after Christmas for the next year. That way you can be on the look-out all year long for the perfect gift. It’s easier to spread your gift budget out over 12 months than to put it all into one or two months. This also allows you to save money by shopping at sales throughout the year.
Make Your Own Gifts
This tip won’t work for every person. If you have to go out and buy all the supplies for a project, you may not ending up saving much money. But if you’re like me and have a stash of various items, making your own gifts can be a great option. There are countless ideas onPinterest (have you followed me yet?) for gifts that are truly amazing. I am a seamstress, so I naturally gravitate toward fabric gifts (aprons, potholders, bags, clothing, etc.). If you’re more ofa crafty person, why not try making a pack of homemade cards, paint a beautiful picture, or bead a necklace? The options really are truly endless and can be lots of fun!
Make Your Own Decorations
This one goes along with making your own gifts. Again, Pinterest is full of ideas for DIY decorations and many of them can be made with items you already have. Check out these adorable snowmen made from an old sweater. Cutting out and hanging paper snowflakes can be a fun project for the kiddos and they look nice in a window or on a Christmas tree. Or try making these trees and letting them grace your buffet or mantle. Have fun with this one!
Watch for Special Offerings at Your Local Grocery
Sometimes grocery stores have a special offer during the holidays that can help you save money. Our local Fred Meyer used to offer a free turkey when you spend $100 during a specific time period. Since many people easily spend that much in one shopping trip, use the opportunity to pick up your Christmas dinner turkey.
I almost can’t believe I’m including this one in this list because I am a shop-local girl through and through. I grew up in a family business and am passionate about supporting local businesses. That being said, sometimes in order to get more “bang for your buck” you’ll have to shop online (through places like Amazon). We buy many of our gifts online at this point, but as we build our income and have a larger gift-giving budget we will transition back over to shopping local and supporting our small businesses. (I feel really bad including this tip…but it really does save money so I guess it’ll stay).
I love Christmas and I love giving gifts. These are some of the ways my husband and I have been able to save money and let the season be more about the things that really matter than stressing over dollars. Let me know in the comments how you’ve been able to save money. And remember to follow me on Pinterest to see great ideas in the DIY categories!
Have a blessed Christmas celebrating the Savior’s birth!