I enjoy Halloween. The fun of it all keeps the kid in me alive. The adult in me realizes that once Halloween is over comes Thanksgiving and with Thanksgiving comes the shopping! Black Friday is in 38 days and Christmas is only 67 days away! I try to plan ahead for the holidays so we can have the fond holiday memories without plowing through the budget and bank account. How far in advance do you plan for the holidays? How do you plan for the holidays?
I have put together a list of ways that you can plan for the holidays without breaking the budget.
10 Tips for Holiday Planning to Help Save Money
- Shop year round. Don’t try to get all the shopping done in November or the week of Christmas. Deals are to be had all year long so keep an eye open. Keep in mind though that just because it’s “a deal” doesnt mean you have to buy it. Make sure it fits the person you’re buying for and you’re not just getting them something that doesn’t cost much. Yes I am all for deal shopping but make sure the gift means something. Not all gifts have to cost you anything though. It’s the thought that counts not the price tag.
- Get your custom Christmas cards done ahead of time. I have waited ’til the beginning of December to get our Christmas cards done– never again! It took longer to get the cards and some that I sent were not received in time for the holiday. Many companies put out coupon codes for cards in October. So have that photo ready to get “the one” ready to be sent. A way I save on holiday cards besides using coupon codes to buy them is not using postage on all of them. For the family and friends that we will see before or on Christmas I hand deliver those cards and then use stamps for the long distance cards.
- Make gifts instead of buying them. I have shared many DIY Christmas projects/ gift ideas here on Mama Bee Does. If you know of something that a loved one wants and you have the ability to make it I bet that it would cost you less money to do it yourself than buying it from a store. It would probably mean more to the person getting the gift knowing that you took the time to make something for them. Some of the best things I have received as gifts have been home(hand)made by the person that gave me the gift and I loved it that much more because they took the time and effort to give me something special.
- Use Swagbucks online as a way to earn paypal cash, gift cards or other great prizes for free. You get swagbucks for online searching. You can read how I saved up my swagbucks for Amazon.com gift cards to get an free EA Sports Active.
- For the family holiday dinner, don’t try making the entire meal yourself. Let everyone pitch in by providing them each with a dish or supply to bring. This gives the satisfaction of a family meal without leaving the burden of achieving the perfect meal on your own, cutting down on the cost of buying food for the whole clan. Also, if you do a lot of baking check Sam’s Club or other bulk stores for your baking supplies. To most of us our time is just as important as our money right? So if you have the available time you could do freezer cooking to leave you free to spend time with the family and not cooped up in the kitchen all Christmas day.
- To save on the electricity bill you can do your holiday cooking and yes even baking without using your oven. There are tons of slow cooker aka crock pot recipes on the internet. I don’t know what I would do without my crock pots.
- Keep on plan with your spending. Make a list of who you need to buy for. Not everyone and their cousins needs a gift from you. The way we do gifts at Christmas is all children in school (the 17 year olds and under group) get gifts. The adults all agreed that Christmas gifts for one another isn’t what Christmas is about.
- Consignment sales. Yes you can find great deals at consignment stores but you can make some extra cash by selling the kids clothes and toys that they aren’t using or wearing anymore. I took 1 bag of the boys clothes to Once Upon a Child a couple months ago and I made $56. I participated in a Kidz Kraze consignment sale selling boys clothes, toys and maternity clothes and made $300. Keep any extra cash put aside for holiday shopping. Or use it to pay off bills then use what would have been put towards the bills to use on holiday shopping.
- Search, search, search. If you have travel plans start booking flights or hotel rooms as soon as you can. Online booking sites offer savings early so don’t wait until the last minute to book.
- Relax. If the holidays leave you more frazzled than feeling the love then consider cutting back on what all you do. Keep your cool during the holiday hustle and bustle and remember what the holidays are really about. Remind your children that you love them. Show them that just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean it’s time to wipe out the bank accounts and it’s not what’s under the tree that matters.
disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine.