Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tips for Having A Merry Christmas (And Not Going Broke) Part II

If you missed Part I on Tips for Having a Merry Christmas (And Not Going Broke) see my previous post giving you 5 great tips to get you started off this holiday season in the frugal zone. 

Frugality doesn't have to mean "cheap" and it doesn't have to mean "not fun." All it means is you are savvy with your money and time. You are creative. Organized. That you are thoughtful about where you put your resources. The fact that you are reading this and taking the time to figure how to make this work for you and your family should be enough to give yourself a pat on the back. 

Tip #6: Out with the Old, in with the Cash - Garage Sale

Not expecting this for a tip for the Christmas shopping frenzies? Well, the point here is to not be shopping, but ridding your home of things you no longer need, want, use or are better converted into cash. Every year in November our family has a garage sale. This allows us to go through things we have accumulated throughout the year or finally toss things we swore we'd use but still keep shoved in a closet. We take our earnings from the garage sale and use it toward our holiday budget. The first thing we set aside is $50 for a real Christmas tree. I know this seems ridiculous to many, but being from Maine I simply will not get a fake tree. I probably would save a lot of money myself in the long run by going with a fake tree, but I will not compromise here. And it's okay. You need to give yourself permission to keep your favorite splurges as well. Mine happens to make my home smell like pine and send me back to my childhood. It's priceless. 

Tip #7: Come Together this Holiday Season - Everybody Pitches In

Isn't it extremely exciting to host a family Christmas Eve party at your home? How about overwhelming. That's right, overwhelming is more like it. I absolutely love hosting Christmas Eve at our home and could not financially be able to do it without the help of our family. It gets overwhelming when we assume so much responsibility to feed everyone AND put on a magical evening. If it has never been that way with your guests before, you express to family and friends upfront that you would like them to bring a dish and have everyone add something to the party. You'd be surprised how willing others are to help. People like to feel like they are contributing and it takes a lot of pressure off the host. This time of year is about spending time together and creating memories with family and friends. Try to take some of the pressure and cost off your plate by delegating your needs to your trusted guests. 

Tip #8: Save A Little, Spend A Little - Ways to Add to Your Holiday Budget

We know little things add up in a big way. How about saving a little starting now and you can have even an extra $75 toward your shopping! Here are a few of my favorites when I need to squeeze out some money where I feel like there's none:

Start a change jar. Cash in all your coins as you get closer toward a big shopping day so you have a little more to take with you!

Keep driving when you see Starbucks (groan) or any other little indulgence that you know you're paying too much for. If you get your coffee on the run each morning, vow to brew your own and put aside the money you would spend in an envelope to take with your next time you shop. 

Keep your five dollar bills (when you see them, so pay attention and no cheating!). Put them aside and let them add up.

Garage sale, Craigslist and Ebay will help add to your budget. Clean out the clutter and turn it into cash!

I'm sure you can get even more creative with ideas. The point is to start as early as you can. It'll keep you from working just as hard to pay it all off as debt in the future. Except you'd probably be paying more with all the interest!

Tip #9: Plan Your Traveling ASAP

Flying? Driving? Taking a Train? Book tickets as early as possible to get the best prices. Most will be inevitable costs (gas money, anyone?) and put aside the cash so it doesn't eat up your gift money. Planning ahead will get the money to stay in your pocket. At least more of it than if you waited until the last minute.

Tip #10: That's a Wrap! - Cutting Costs on Gift Wrapping

If you are super money savvy, you probably buy your Christmas wrapping paper on Dec. 26th or soon after and have it stashed ready for the next year. Or maybe you've saved your boxes, bags, and ribbon from last year (I am guilty of this). But if you're like the rest of us, we may need a few creative ideas to shave off a few more dollars in this department.

Get the Sunday paper? Save the comics! Add some pretty ribbon and you've got a cute present wrapped and making people smile. 

Brown paper bags from the grocery store can be used to wrap gifts. Again colorful ribbon (which you can get on sale and use coupons, so you can find some dirt cheap) brightens up the gift, or rubber stamped with a design, are all fun ways to change up your typical Christmas paper and save a few bucks.

Utilize the free gift wrapping with your purchase. I know the line can be long. The wait ridiculous. But they usually do a great job and you just saved some money by taking advantage of the free gift wrap. 

I hope you have found these few tips helpful. If you feel moved to leave me a Christmas gift (hey, it's a thought right?) in a donation I will honestly be very excited. I will add it to my Christmas family budget! But really, remember the reasons why we celebrate this time of year and focus your heart on those. It's easy to get caught up in the commercialized pressures of buying everything we see on tv or in ads. I think we all realize that is not what it's all about. Roll up your sleeves and help someone in need. Serve in your community or donate your extras to lighten the load for your neighbors. Giving of yourself sometimes is more valuable than something you can buy. If you remember nothing else than that, I feel my time in writing this is well honored.

I wish you all a beautiful holiday season and a very Merry Christmas.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Template by - Header Image by Arpi