Christmas is a time of joy and family and celebration. It’s also a time when many households seem to bleed money. And for some families, the only option is to have Christmas on a shoestring budget.
It’s time to stop subscribing to the modern notion that the Christmas spirit can be bought. Let’s take a deep breath and get back to basics this year to save money and keep the stress of financial worries from ruining this special season.
How to Have Christmas on a Shoestring Budget
Low Cost Decorations
Nothing says you have to keep up with the Griswolds by creating an animatronic, visible-from-space light display in your yard every year.
Not only are twinkle lights expensive, they can really run up your electric bill. Try hanging just one strand over your door to welcome guests instead. Use solar lights to save even more!
Then, take a winter walk through the neighborhood to enjoy other people’s light displays with your family. Looking at the Christmas and a cup of hot cocoa make for an inexpensive way to create some special memories and get into the holiday spirit.
Take a drive with your kids and make a nice evening out of going to the neighborhoods with the best lights. Usually, the newspaper or TV will mention these places.
Save money on inside decorations by making your own. Construction paper crafts are inexpensive and fun for the kids.
Adults can take things one step further and try some elaborate origami. Instead of rushing to the craft shop to buy expensive supplies, repurpose household items like jar lids and bottle caps to make interesting ornaments.
Use the covers from last year’s greeting cards or wrapping paper in your arts and crafts. A Christmas tree trimmed in homemade ornaments and paper chains is absolutely heart-warming.
Saving Money on Gifts
A gift is no fun to give when you’re wondering how you’re going to pay for it when the credit card bills roll in. Giving gifts for a Christmas on a shoestring budget takes some thought.
Try making your own gifts this year for a surprise your loved ones will really appreciate. If you love crafts, create something beautiful for your relatives’ homes.
Bake friends their favorite holiday treats, or try making your own coupon books containing certificates for things like a girls’ night in or free babysitting.
Kids like to get coupons, too, especially ones they can cash in for extra privileges like staying up late on a weekend or watching a few extra hours of television.
Gift cards too are always a welcome gift; buy one medium gift card for all the young kids in your sister’s family!
How to Save Money on Food at Christmas
It just isn’t a holiday party without delicious food, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to serve a five-course dinner.
Why don’t you try a pot-luck style gathering this year and ask guests to bring a side dish or a dessert to share? Or, instead of a meal, time your party so that only drinks and appetizers are required.
Consider hosting a Christmas brunch instead of a Christmas dinner, because eggs are definitely cheaper than whole turkeys and hams, and remember that many grocery chains run promotions at this time of year.
With your store loyalty card or some coupons, you can get everything you need at a discount if you plan your menu in advance and shop ahead.
If you do serve a big dinner, go with a buffet instead of a sit down meal. This will cut down on wasted food that’s plated but not eaten. You might just have leftovers enough to get you through New Year’s.
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This article was written by Jonathon Gordon. Jonathon is currently researching how to make homemade Christmas gifts this year to save even more money.
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