Christmas is a lot of people’s favourite holiday; full of magic, great food, and time with family and friends. But it’s also expensive AF! So to help you out, here’s a list of 5 smart ways to save money at Christmas!
5 Smart Ways to Save Money at Christmas
So I’ve been a little MIA lately, as you may have noticed. Truth be told, I’ve been spending most of my spare time busily pounding the keys for my second novel, which came to me in a sudden wave of inspiration. And if you have a creative nature, you know what I mean when I say that when inspiration strikes you that hard and fast, you go at it strong until it’s finished!
Fortunately for me, I have fabulous girlfriends who are also members of the Pennywise Tribe. So today I have a guest post from my beautiful and frugal friend Jenn. She’s perhaps even better than I am at reining in her holiday spending, so I’m deferring to her expertise and wisdom and sharing her 5 super useful tips to avoid breading the bank this holiday!
5 Smart Ways to Save Money at Christmas
Christmas is THE best time of the year. I love everything about it. The food, the lights, the snow, the time with friends and family. I love the traditions of the season. It is a time of excess on so many levels, and I would never want to diminish the hope, love, and spirit of the season. But as a Pennywise person, I know that I can have the Christmas of my dreams without the nightmare of January credit card bills. Here are some tips to having a Pennywise Christmas:
1. Know your limit and shop within it
As with everything: budget, budget, budget. Be honest and realistic with yourself. Don’t forget to factor in all the incidentals, such as:
– the office Christmas party’s cash bar
– that manicure for the holiday photo
– the hostess gift you will be picking up last minute on the way to your in-laws’ house
– the gift for your kids’ teachers
The list can go on and on, so sit down early in the season and try to reflect on the mistakes of Christmas Past and set your budget!
2. Talk to family and friends about expectations
Please refer back to #1. Oh, you’re back? Look at #1 again, I’ll wait… Okay, one more time. This is so, so important. You need to be honest with yourself and with your loved ones with what your budget is. Is it awkward? Yes. Is it uncomfortable? Probably. But there are lots of ways to enjoy the spirit of giving and lose the guilt and pressure of meeting (or not meeting) expectations. Everyone wants to be Santa, no one wants to be Scrooge, but there is no shame in giving what you can, and respecting yourself. Trust me, your friends and family don’t want that $400 blender if it means you’re still paying it off on St. Patrick’s day.
3. Choose an alternative to gifts
It sounds corny, but everyone over the age of 17 will agree, spending time together is better than any gift. Instead of doing a gift exchange with friends, plan to spend some meaningful time together. Here are some ideas that will make your pocketbook and your relationships richer:
– A pajama party with a deluxe hot chocolate bar; everyone can bring their favourite hot chocolate hack and watch a favourite Christmas movie
– Craft night! Pick a holiday craft everyone can do together. Everyone contributes one element of the project; someone brings ribbon, someone brings chalk markers, etc. Bonus if you’re the one willing to brave the elements to collect some greenery – it’s free!
– A décor swap party. We’ve seen the benefits of clothing swaps with friends, well you can do the same with your holiday décor. Bring that wreath you’re a little tired of, or the holiday runner that’s run its course for you; they will be fresh and exciting to your friends, and their décor will be new and exciting to you!
4. Pre-make some great freezer meals
In all of the excitement preparing for the holidays we often forget or feel like we don’t have time to cook. Knowing that you have to rush out to the mall after work, often leads to grabbing a food court meal or something from the drive-thru. Instead block off an afternoon early in the season to make some freezer friendly meals or soups you know you can turn to when you’re pinched for time.
Related: Vegan Minestrone Soup
5. Keep track of Everything you buy
There’s a reason Santa makes a list (and checks it twice). I have been known to buy Christmas presents in July if I see a great gift at a great price. But I have to make sure I don’t forget about it in the back of my closet when Christmas actually arrives. I have a Christmas list on my phone all year round, I track ideas when someone mentions something they want, and I track what I’ve bought. Shopping early is great, but it can also lead to over-buying and overspending. When you are done with your shopping list, you are done! Stop looking, stop buying. Close that amazon tab I know you have open right now because you’re ‘just browsing’. Don’t open those promotional emails with their subject lines offering 75% off. If you see ‘one more perfect gift’ consult your list. Is it really necessary? Can you return something else? Consult your budget… don’t make me tell you to go back to #1 again…