Are you trying to save money this holiday season? It may not be as easy as you think. Many people head into the holiday season with a plan to spend less money than the previous year and to be more careful about how much they spend. Here’s my other piece, 101 ideas for frugal Christmas gifts, this article is in continuation of that.
However, when January arrives, they quickly realize that they ended up spending more than they had anticipated. It really takes some planning and budgeting if you want to save money during the holiday, but it can be done. Here are some great tips to help you save money on all your holiday supplies.
The holidays cannot go by without purchasing at least a few gifts for those closest to you. The first thing you need to do is make a list of everyone you want to shop for, and then determine how much you are able to spend on each gift.
You may want to consider making your own homemade gifts, such as jewelry, soaps, cookies, or bread. If you find that you have too many names on your list make an attempt to cut the list down slightly. Encourage your office or family to do an exchange where everyone draws the name of one person to select a gift for.
This way everyone is sure to get a present, but you only need to purchase one gift instead of several. Many exchanges also set a limit for how much everyone can spend per gift.
If you like to send out holiday cards to everyone you know, you can really cut down on your expenses by sending out eCards instead. Several online companies offer this service for free, which saves you a lot of money on purchasing the cards and mailing them.
You also want to make sure you look for special sales and discounts before purchasing a gift to make sure you are getting it for the best possible price. If you are ordering online, see if they offer free shipping or wait until a special period over the holidays when they are likely to offer free shipping.
You may also be planning to decorate your home or office for the holidays. Rather than going to the store to purchase all of your decoration, try to be creative. Make your own decorations using paper, fabrics, items you have around the house, and nature items from outside. In addition, try shopping at discount stores rather than your standard retail stores because you are likely to find better prices.
As a tip for next year, when the holidays are over for this season, many of the decorations go on sale for as much as 80 per cent off. This is a great way to purchase decorations for next year.
If you are planning a dinner party, it is important that you make preparation ahead of time. Set a budget for your party and be reasonable about how much you have available to spend. Then limit the number of people you invite to your party, to match your budget.
You can make some of the food weeks before your party and freeze it until you need it. This will prevent you from going out and purchasing food items at the last minute because you ran out of time. You can also plan a potluck dinner and have everyone bring a dish to share. Not only is this fun and gets everyone involved, but it can drastically cut down the overall cost of your party.
If you are planning to travel over the holidays make sure you make your arrangements early. This will allow you to shop around for the best travel deals rather than settling for whatever travel accommodations are available.
You may also want to consider travelling in the middle of the week, because these fares are usually slightly less expensive than weekend travel fares. If at all possible, you may want to postpone your trip until after the holidays when everything will be less expensive.
Pre-planning and budgeting are the two most important tools you can use to save money during the holidays. Try to be creative and always be on the lookout for ways you can save money.
Remember that the earlier you start shopping for the holidays, the better chance you have at finding a great deal or special discount. Together these tips can help you save a lot of money over the holiday season.