Now that the Halloween decorations have been stowed away and the turkey has been eaten, it’s time to think about Christmas (or Solstice or Krampus – whatever).
For those of us who are going to have a very frugal Christmas this year, it may mean that you’re making your gifts, creating experiences instead of “stuff,” or sneaking in with the stealth of a ninja to snag some deals before the crowds are wise to it- which requires planning.
Ironically, I’ve recently become committed to a minimalist lifestyle (see my video series on the subject), so a frugal Christmas is definitely on the books for me. Here’s how I am planning on doing it.
Start Planning Your Holiday Crafts
Mason jars, ribbon, and pretty much everything you’ll want to find on Pinterest can be bought ahead of time to avoid the pinch later. Creating pinboards of holiday crafts and using Amazon to bulk order for free shipping will save you a lot of time and hassle, and keep you from running store to store. (You can get a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime here. This will get you through the holidays and if you decide to not continue with a paid subscription, you can cancel anytime.)
Here are some of my favorite holiday craft pinboards that are constantly being updated with new ideas:
- DIY Christmas Crafts Pinboard by Good Housekeeping Magazine
- DIY Frugal Christmas by Cents & Order
- Homemade Christmas by Pioneering Today
You can make the holidays more meaningful and less consumerist (I don’t know about you, but I avoided Black Friday lines!) by scheduling time in for crafts.
Yes, it can get pricey, but if you batch your crafts and buy in bulk, you can avoid things being “Pinterest perfect” and really, just have fun with it. A mason jar cookie mix doesn’t have to be embellished with expensive stickers or in fancy containers- have fun and don’t worry about matching what you see in magazines this year! And if you’re looking to up your game from some simple cookie mixes, check out our DIY Cocktail Mason Jar Ideas.
Set A Holiday Budget To Set Money Aside NOW
Yes, this is the un-fun time you get to count up all of the Christmas parties you typically attend and figure out what the costs will actually be. Come to the table ahead of time with money saving ideas that gets everyone on board with frugality before you’re the odd (wo)man out- perhaps exchange names instead of buying for everyone, or do a cookie exchange instead of a gift exchange.
If those aren’t an option, guesstimate how many parties you attend and what each could cost, and set aside the cash throughout the year. In July (I know, I know!) I set aside an automatic transfer each week of about $12 a week, so I will have almost $250 by the time St. Nick comes down my chimney.
Additionally, if you know you’ll need to come with a gift in hand, you can buy those now- stocking up on wine, candles, soaps and coffee beans that aren’t “holiday,” can mean you snag really good deals in the clearance section. I usually grab a few bottles of wine- red, white and some sparkling, for a quick hostess gift…plus, they don’t always need to be bagged, just adorn them with leftover tinsel or twine.
I personally am a fan of Capital One 360 checking and savings accounts. They’re totally online, meaning there are less fees than a typical bank. Not to mention you will earn up to $100 just for signing up and using their services. Check out Capital One 360 here for more details on all of the accounts they currently offer, as well as their sign-up bonuses.
Now that you’ve set a budget and set money aside, you can follow these tips to stay under budget this holiday season!
Stay Safe To Save Money
Christmas is awesome, and for me, winter, well, not so much. Save money by winter-proofing your home to save on electricity costs. Some of my favorite winterizing products that can make a huge difference, especially if you have an older home, are:
- Under Door Draft Stopper
- Duck Brand Indoor 10-Window Shrink Film Insulator Kit
- Weather Stripping
- Christmas Light Timers
Before the storms hit, be sure you’ve winterized your car and have ice equipment and a shovel on hand. Even if you’re not snowed in, a neighbor might be- and the easiest way to get on Santa’s “good” list is to help one another and be prepared with extra salt, shovels, ice scrapers, and blankets in case someone is in need (and so you don’t get stuck in the snow when driving around for winter errands).
Additionally, with trees, lights and ice- your home can become a dangerous place. Follow these home safety tips for the holidays as you prepare and decorate for Christmas.
If you have pets in your home, it’s key to be aware what special and alluring dangers are pretty for you, but deadly for your pet. Pet safety is something to consider this time of year as you decide what plants and lights to bring into your home after Thanksgiving.
Being prepared will save you time and money- and mostly, the stress that can come with the holidays.
We have a lot of great content on saving for the holidays. We know it’s a tough time for a lot of people, so we have dedicated a significant amount of time to the subject:
- Easy Ways to Save Money on Holiday Gifts
- Don’t Have A Blue Christmas! How To Reclaim The Joy of the Holidays On A Budget
- Frugal Ideas For Winter Fun on a Budget
- How to Balance Debt Repayment with Holiday Expenses
- Be Prepared: Frugal Gift Giving
This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.