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It’s the BEST time of the year! I absolutely love Christmas more than any other holiday. Rightfully so, because what other holiday can claim the birth of our Lord and Savior?! None! The answer is none! 🙂 But even though Christmas has turned into somewhat of a commercialized holiday, I’m here to say that it IS possible to have a frugal Christmas if you are intentional with your money and plan ahead.
Before we get into my five frugal Christmas tips, be sure to grab my free Christmas budget worksheet!
1.Frugal Christmas Wrapping
Did you know that Americans spend an average of 3.2 billion dollars on Christmas wrapping paper every year?! If you haven’t planned ahead and bought your paper on clearance in previous “after-Christmas” sales, try using kraft paper! You can use it all year long for wrapping gifts and packages, and it’s neutral, so it goes with every color! Just pair it with beautiful bows and ribbon or leave them plain and let the kids color on them with markers! I’ve always struggled to match my wrapping papers under the tree because I usually find a really cute Disney character wrapping paper that I just have to have for my daughter. Kraft paper makes things easier and lasts forever if you buy a big enough roll. Save yourself some money and hassle and go with the kraft paper for year-round wrapping!
2.I’ll Be Home for Christmas
Instead of traveling during the most expensive month of the year, stay home for the holidays. January is a much cheaper month to fly, and you won’t have to fight traffic, crowded flights, and possible delays. Some of our best Christmases were when we lived in Florida and our closest family was a state away. Our little family of three (at the time) made it super special by putting on our jammies and driving around with hot cocoa to look at Christmas lights, going to tree lighting and festivals, and watching Christmas movies at home. I actually miss the simplicity of those days…when we weren’t expected to be everywhere.
3.Frugal Christmas Food
As I write this, it’s a week past Thanksgiving. The grocery store might still have turkey on clearance. Some people prefer to do a big meal for the holidays (especially if you’ve graciously offered to host at your house this year). When I was growing up, we split Christmas between my Grandma’s house (where she cooked a full spread) and my Papa and Granny’s house (where we always, always had pizza and finger foods, such as meat and cheese trays and fruit and veggies). We had just as much fun, if not more, at my Papa and Granny’s house because the food didn’t matter. The fellowship and family time was the most important thing. If you are looking for ways to save money on Christmas dinner, try keeping things simple or consider hosting a potluck! This way everyone can bring their favorite dish, and you aren’t stuck with all of the leftovers! Oh…and another benefit is that the vegans and vegetarians can bring their own meatless options. That way you’re not having to cut into next week’s grocery budget to make meatless lasagna for one person. 🙂
Alcohol can be a major expense during the holidays as well, especially if you’re planning any parties at your home. If you’re hosting, ask guests to bring their favorite drink or BYOB.
4.Christmas Decorating on a Budget
Oh, how I love decorating for Christmas! But the budget doesn’t allow for extravagant purchases every year. This year, my nine-year-old tree had an accident in the basement. Actually, we had a plumbing issue and my tree dried out, but the lights were fried. So, to our local HomeGoods we went to purchase the flocked tree I’ve been wanting! Isn’t she lovely?!
If you’ve bought a fresh tree every year and are realizing the cost (and mess), consider the savings of buying an artificial tree! As you can see, flocked trees like these ones add a special sense of warmth and comfort to the home. But if they’re out of your budget, there are plenty of used Christmas trees in the marketplace on Facebook. Just make sure you ask if it comes from a smoke-free or pet-free home (if you have allergies).
Christmas lights, garland, wreaths, table runners…the possibilities are endless when it comes to adding simple Christmas decor. Even Target has incredible deals in their One Spot section for Christmas decor as low as $1!
5.Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas
There are a few different ways to save money on Christmas gifts this year. Setting a Christmas budget you’ll actually stick to is crucial! To help with this, I’ve created a budget worksheet that you can use to calculate a total budget per child based on age! Enter your email below and I’ll send it right over!
Once you’ve established a frugal Christmas budget, you can decide how and what to get everyone. Here are some tips.
- Don’t exchange gifts with your spouse. I know it’s fun to open gifts with the family, but it’s even more fun when you’re focused on quality family time.
- Make gifts. Bake cookies to gift to friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc. Make your Christmas cards or create online cards and email them to save on postage. Note: Be careful gifting cookies to teachers, mail carriers, and people you don’t know too well. They might have allergies. If you must gift them something, stick with a gift card.
- If you’re on an extremely tight budget, my favorite place to shop is Five Below. Everything in the store is priced at (you guessed it) five bucks or less! You can get everything from Bluetooth speakers to cell phone cases to home decor, makeup, Shopkins, and Marvel toys. They have just about everything! Imagine what you could do with $100! Plus they offer online shopping if you don’t have a local store in your area!
Bonus: Best Stocking Stuffers on a Budget
If you’re not careful, stocking stuffers can really blow the budget. All those little things add up! That must be why my parents put apples and oranges in our stockings when we were kids! I’m onto you, Mom! 🙂 As mentioned above, Five Below is a great place to grab some great cheap stocking stuffers. You can also grab stocking stuffer assortments from Amazon for super cheap and it comes with everything you need (minus the candy) to fill a kiddo’s stocking! Click here to see all of the options for stocking stuffer assortments at Amazon.
You might also like: 6 Ways to Keep Your Holiday Spending in Check
In a few weeks, we’ll gather around the Christmas tree and talk about the years past and those to come, and shortly after that, we’ll be planning New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s get a head start on our financial resolutions by intentionally planning our holly frugal Christmas.
Life is a collection of memories and experiences. There are ups and downs. I am so grateful for God’s grace and am on the journey to a renewed spirit, free of perfectionism. Perfection Hangover offers the sober truth – no filter.