If you are like many, Christmas comes and goes, leaving behind it an empty bank account and charged up credit cards. To that end, we offer a few ideas for how to save money on Christmas during the last two months of the year.
TWELVE WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON CHRISTMAS
- Clearance Halloween Candy – If you’ve been able to snatch up the 50% or more off candy from Halloween, you can save some cash at Christmas time. And don’t worry about that candy going bad over that 2 months! According to the National Confectioners Association, you can keep most candy unwrapped for 6-12 months. Sometimes even longer! Try to avoid the candy with Halloween-themed wrapping though!
- Cash only – while it’s very easy to go to Amazon for all your purchases, if you plan to coincide your shopping with some store sales, you will find that bringing cash and resolving not to use the debit card will actually help you save even more. This is because using cash is painful. Sometimes you have to tell yourself no, if you’ve depleted your cash.. But using cash always causes you to better consider a purchase before you make it. This year, I am squirreling away extra cash that I have leftover from envelopes or from cash income.
- Baking for neighbors and co-workers – when you consider that you can bake a whole bunch of cookies for around $5, this is definitely one of the most economical and also most thoughtful gifts you can give. My husband has started baking pecan pies for his co-workers. Always appreciated.
- Prep the kids – In advance of a more lean Christmas than in the past, begin a conversation with your children. This can go something like this: Kids, in years past, we really have not thought about how much we’ve spent on Christmas, and this year we are going to give more thoughtful gifts (because we will be spending less money….) The last bit in parenthesis can be omitted.
- Doing for others – invite a family to dinner, mow your neighbor’s lawn, babysit for your young mother friends, go to the local nursing home or retirement village and sing or just talk with the residents. Honestly, these types of intentional gifts of time do more to shape your children’s memories of Christmas than almost any wrapped gift can.
- Change your perspective – What is the benefit in keeping up with the Joneses if the Joneses are going into debt? I love this commercial. Don’t be in “debt up to your eyeballs.” While telling yourself (and maybe others) no at first may seem difficult, over time, this gets quite easy. And contentment is a byproduct. You begin to see financial success not as the amount or type of things you have but as your savings increases.
- Price comparison app – not sure if you’re getting the best deal while shopping? Try shopsavvy, an app that allows you to search online and in-store prices of items and compare costs. You can even scan the barcode of an item while you’re in one store to see if there’s a better deal for you at another store. And you’ll be well on your way to Christmas savings.
- Swap/garage sale/thrift – when our children were little, we really had little money. But we all think of that time as the happiest time. There were birthdays and Christmases that I wrapped up previously gently used toys and clothes. Sometimes you can even score brand new with tags items. Doing Christmas gifts this way really causes you to become more thoughtful.
- Set a budget — You should set a budget now. Remember that a budget shouldn’t be seen as shackles but instead should be seen as protection. Like the guardrails along a bridge which keep you from falling. And let me challenge you beginning in January of next year, establish an annual expense fund in which you begin setting aside money each month for next Christmas!
- Celebrate Christmas after Dec. 25th Think of the money you could save if you bought items after Christmas. How many holiday gift sets, décor, food, etc are on 50%+ discount! Some folks might think, “If it’s 50% off, I can buy twice as much, right?” But you wouldn’t think that, would you?
- Gift exchange instead — This year, how about having a gift exchange instead of buying for each person. You can spend more on your person, which will allow you also to be more thoughtful in your gift.
- Dollar Store crafts – OK, you may be like…whoa, what?…upon reading this money-saving advice. But the bar has been raised lately with Dollar Store items. And these can make some beautiful Pottery Barn knock offs. One YouTuber I follow who constantly has wonderful home item step-by-step directions is Search all her past videos for some excellent ideas. Talk about getting your bang for a buck!
Hopefully, something you’ve read here is a new thought to you. After all, changing your financial habits begins with new thinking. May this year, because of positive financial changes be an extra merry Christmas for you!