Monday, October 19, 2009

Frugal tips for saving money at Christmas

Frugal tips for saving money at Christmas

*Christmas Cards:

1. Either don’t send Christmas cards or cut your list in half!

2. Send postcards or letters, instead of Christmas cards.

3. You can even cut your old Christmas cards from last year in half, and send the pretty side as a postcard. I did this many years and it works great, plus you’re being ‘earth friendly’ by keeping new cards out of the garbage dumps.

4. If you send postcards, whether purchased or homemade, remember they require less postage than a regular card!

5. Christmas cards always go on sale better in December; this is one time when the early birds do not beat us!

6. If you purchase inexpensive cards at a discount store, just look them through carefully. Some look really cheap, while others are much prettier. If you’re going to buy Christmas cards, they might as well look nice!

7. Make a short phone call at 5 cents a minute, a 7 minute call would still cost less than a postage stamp, and your loved ones would probably much rather you’re your voice than receive a card in the mail.

*Wrapping Paper:

8. Use magazine pages to wrap small gifts.

9. The comic section of your newspaper also makes pretty paper. (I once saved them up for a few months before Christmas and had enough to make a gift out of a relative’s favorite comic strip. They loved it!)

10. Use your children’s artwork, or create your own on plain paper… the large reams of packing paper are great for this, contact anyone who’s in the process of moving!

11. Save used wrapping paper all through the year, just roll them back onto the paper tube and place a small piece of scotch tape on the edge to hold in place. These really work great for small gifts where the previously folded lines won’t even show. If the paper is the wrong theme, you could just turn it over and decorate the plain side yourself!

12. Don’t buy expensive ribbons and bows to decorate your packages, if you hunt around you can find the cheap stuff that will be just as pretty!

13. Forget the gift tags, make your own by cutting a small piece of matching paper and folding it in half. Write the “To and From” on the inside of the paper and tape it to the wrapped present. This is great for scraps of paper that are too small to wrap a gift, but too large to toss away.

14. Cut up old Christmas cards make great gift tags too!

15. If you sew, you could even use scrap material to wrap gifts.

16. Or inexpensive tissue paper that you’ve saved from other gifts throughout the year. Then decorate the wrapped gift with little smiley faces, Christmas trees, or even just the words “Merry Christmas!” You could even add some glitter if you have some on hand.


17. Don’t decorate.

18. Don’t decorate with expensive things!!!

19. The stores have incredible sales every year for decorations, buy close to the holiday or even better, after the holiday! You could fill your house with beautiful holiday decorations every year (if you wanted to), for a small fraction of what they originally cost!

20. Save your children’s (or grandchildren’s) holiday crafts and artwork from school each year, after a few years you’ll have a houseful of free and beautiful decorations! And the joy your child will feel seeing his/her artwork proudly displayed year after year is priceless.

21. Have a warm and cozy Christmas the old-fashioned way. Pop some popcorn and string it up all over the house!

22. Add some cranberries to your popcorn string for a touch of color.

23. Decorate your house by bringing the outside in, using pinecones and acorns! Sprinkle with a few drops of pine scented oil if you have it on hand, I know a lot of you just might!

24. Invest in an artificial tree after Christmas - when they go on clearance!

25. And don’t try to get all your tree ornaments in one year (this one is especially true for newlyweds), it took your parents years to collect what they have… and each ornament is more special because of it.


26. Many grocery stores are offering great deals during the holidays, some are even giving away food, or cash! Read the paper every week for your local deals, or if you don’t subscribe to the newspaper, pick up the free ad flyers at the store and take it home so you’ll have time to look it over really good before shopping.

27. Compare prices! I like to buy whatever’s on sale at one store, then a few days later when we need more milk anyways, I go to a second store and get their best deals, it’s a great money-saver!

28. Store brands are great when making casseroles and side dishes… no one will even notice!

29. Cook your turkey in a large Reynolds cooking bag and you won’t need to buy an expensive Butterball, any brand will be wonderful!

30. Stock up while everything’s on sale, just an extra can or box here and there… not a storage closet full! If you end up with too many bargain buys, share them with your local food bank!

31. Visit our Grocery Saving Tips Web site for more ideas on saving money at the grocery store, with or without coupons!


32. It’s wonderful to take your family to the movie theater during the Christmas holiday break, but this could also be a good time to catch up on the videos that have come out for rental during the holiday season. NetFlix even lets you rent DVDs online and there’s no charge for late fees (use our link for a 30-day free trial!)

33. Another great and frugal way to entertain the family through the holidays is to take a drive around your town, or another one nearby, to see the Christmas lights. It’s a family tradition of ours to do this on Christmas Eve and we look forward to it every year!

34. Get out the board games, the kids will love spending time with you. If you don’t have many to choose from, maybe you can borrow a new game from a friend or neighbor. You never know, they might have a closet full they never even use!

35. Playing cards is always fun too, even when the kids are little you can play Go Fish… we’re making memories here.

36. Sing, sing, sing! Many churches and groups even have caroling get-togethers in December, what fun!

37. Sit around a warm fire, or cozy up in the living room with blankets and hot cocoa. Tell family stories… or have everyone take turns saying how they have been blessed throughout the year, like we do at Thanksgiving. Being thankful shouldn’t end in November, keep the spirit going!

38. Have a family gathering to decorate the tree, wrap gifts, or bake cookies. (And if you do enjoy baking cookies, we'd love to have you join our Cookie Club!)

39. Check out a Christmas book from the library and read it together as a family. Or, decide on a story and have everyone contribute a chapter to create a new Christmas book... maybe even one about your own family!


1. Minimize the gifts you buy your child

Once you get past the third or fourth gift, no matter how great the gifts are, you hit a wall of diminishing returns with your child where some of the gifts won’t be met with much enthusiasm and will be tossed aside. Instead, focus on three or four quality gifts for them instead of a pile of junk. It was because of this tactic that my parents were able to get me some very memorable Christmas gifts even though they were quite poor – they just focused usually on one or two incredible presents.

2. Try to make sure at least one of the gifts for your child is very open-ended.

Open-ended toys – meaning ones that encourage creative play – are often ones that have huge amounts of replay value for the kids. Compare, say, Legos to a Tickle Me Elmo doll. The Tickle Me Elmo doll gets tickled a few times, it rolls around, and the kid laughs, but it grows old quickly. On the other hand, Legos can be used to build an infinite array of items (at least until you get into the “kits,” but even those can be modified by a creative child).

3. Give a handmade gift certificate

if you're not into calligraphy or art, make it on the computer. Give a certificate for several nights of babysitting. Or for a favorite niece or nephew, maybe a trip to the zoo in the spring.

4. Do you have a new "in-law" in your family?

Give her a special calendar marked with birthdays, anniversaries and other special days. Tuck in a few recipe cards with favorite family recipes on them.

5. Gift for a young man

From dollar store- Bucket, car shampoo, sponge, keychain, tire cleaner, ice scraper, tire gauge, car wax (not all of these items, just select two or three and they make a nice gift)

6. Instead of buying a gift for everyone in your sister's or brother's famiy, think about giving on gift that everyone can enjoy.

How about a jigsaw puzzle? Package it with a big package of Microwave popcorn and some hot chocolate mix and they'll be all set for family night.

7. Anothter great family gift is a nice christmas-theamed cookie jar filled with - your guessed it-Christmas candy!

Every year when they get out the christmas cookie jar, they will think of you (walmart usually has cute xmas ones for about $5 so that plust the cost of candy isn't that much for a whole family gift)

8. Grandparents loved to receive anything that grandchildren have made

Frame some of the children's artwork in a nice frame ($1 at the dollar tree) maybe even a magnetic frame. Or do a collage of photos of the grandchildren.

9. Craft stores are a great place to shop

hobby and craft stores have craft and art kits for $5 or less most times that would make great gifts

10. A swimmer can alway use a new set of ear plugs

11. For someone who travels get them some travel bottles of lotion, hair spray, deoderant

12. Everyone can use a new lint remover mitt

13. Most women will appreciate a bottle of bubble bath ($1 at the dollar tree)

14. Find a key chain that represents the recipient's hobby

15. Coffe lovers will appreciate small bags of flavored coffee and/or a nice coffee mug

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