Today I am sharing some frugal ways to celebrate Christmas. If you watch television for even a few minutes during the holiday season then you will see the commercials. Yes, the commercials to buy, shop and spend that money. The season is all about spending that hard earned money….but it really is not and should not be.
Over the years, especially more now than ever I like to enjoy a simple holiday season. I want to enjoy the season for what it actually is and not what the consumerism driven world we live in says it should be. I want to spend time with my family and cherish the moments we have together. Objects are just that and in the end get tossed to the side and often times forgotten about. They do not hold the true meaning of the holidays. So make sure you spend some quality time with your family and the people you love because that is what life is about.
Now to the point of this post. I want to talk about being frugal during the holiday season. I thought it would be fun to share some frugal tips and items I spend very little to no money on during the season.
Things I Spend Little To No Money On
- Tissue Paper
Stop buying tissue paper. You are wasting your money. If you ever buy anything online then you probably get tissue paper or something similar in your packages. Save that paper, fold it nicely and use it as tissue paper. Stop throwing it away and instead reuse it.
- Ribbon, Gift Tags & Other Fancy Add-on’s
We all love a beautifully wrapped gift. So aesthetically pleasing, but a huge waste of money. Chances are those beautiful expensive additions are going to end up in the trash. If it was me I would save and re-use it but that is not guaranteed by the person receiving the gift. So while it looks pretty it is a waste of your money. Make your own gift tags. I just cut up a small piece of wrapping paper, fold it in half, write a message inside and tape it to the gift. That also takes care of that Christmas card.
- Wrapping Paper
I will spend a small amount of money on wrapping paper. I just purchased a new roll from Target for $5 and it will last me a few years. If you are really frugal you can keep the wrapping paper from gifts you receive. I’ve never done this but it is a great idea. If you have newspapers sitting around the house try wrapping your gifts in those. My husband actually did this with a gift this year and I love the way it looks and it is a great way to save money and the environment. Plus, the receiver now has some reading material!
- Gift Bags
This is something I will spend money on, but only if necessary. I keep gift bags that are given to me and reuse them every year. This is how it looks with my family…. my mother in law always give me a gift in a large gift bag. I keep the bag and give it right back to her the next year. Then the next year I get it back or a new one and the cycle continues. Nobody remembers what the gift bag looked like a year later. Stop throwing these away and reuse them. You will soon have a small stash and never have to buy them again.
This one is a little different for my household. My husband and I have a tradition of buying an authentic German nutcracker each year. They are expensive and we know that but we enjoy doing it. Sometimes we do it every two years. That is where I spend my “decoration” money. Otherwise, I no longer buy holiday decorations. I am able to not spend the money because I have accumulated everything I need and want over the years. I reuse the same decorations and ribbon every year. I have a theme and it does not change. I will not buy new decor just to have it.
- Christmas Tree
When I was younger my family always got a fresh cut Christmas tree. I loved the tradition of chopping down the tree and then decorating it. My husband and I got fresh trees for a long time but about two years ago we decided to buy a fake one. You can find fake trees for a decent price and you do not need to break the bank. We will have this tree for years and it will save us money in the long run. Plus, I feel better not cutting down a tree every year just so it can die in my house.
- Christmas Cards & Family Photos
I will spend money on Christmas cards, but I buy them in the bulk pack where I can get 5-10 of them and I get the cheapest I can find. It is much cheaper than buying individual ones. I do this only because I do send cards when I send a gift card. I just used up my last two Christmas cards that I purchased from last year. I do not buy individual ones and I do not buy those holiday cards with a family photo on them. Sorry to my friends and family who send them out each year but I hate those things. I know what your family looks like and they end up in the trash. They are such a waste of money.
Frugal Christmas Tips
Whether you have a small family or a large one you need to make a budget. There is no reason to just spend your money on gifts with no budget. Many people go into debt during the holiday season just so they can buy someone else a nice gift. Think about those families who buy tons of presents for their kids then spend the rest of the year trying to pay it off. If you have to do that then you should not be buying anything because you clearly can not afford it. Create a realistic budget and stick to it.
- Ship Direct
This is something I did this year for the first time. I waited till the last minute to buy my family presents. The problem is my family lives ten hours away from me so I needed to get the gifts, wrap them and ship them out. There was no way I was going to make it in time. So instead, I purchased the gifts online and had them shipped directly to their home. What did this do for me? It saved me money and even helped the environment. Think about the process….I needed the items shipped to me (because I had to get them online), wrap them and ship them again. Sounds like a big waste of money, time, fuel and packaging. So ship those darn gifts direct. Some companies even do free gift wrapping but if it is not free then I am not paying for it. Nobody cares.
- You Do Not Have To Buy For Everyone
There is no reason why you need to buy a gift for your three aunts, twenty cousins, five coworkers etc etc etc. You get the idea. At that point your just buying meaningless junk to have a gift. Stop feeling obligated to have a gift for everybody. And if you still feel the need then make that budget and find something reasonable. Cause your butt is gonna go broke with those twenty cousins.
- Homemade Gifts
Be careful here because homemade gifts can get pricey. If you can crochet, knit, sew, bake or have a special skill think about making a homemade gift. You may have supplies already laying around the house that you can put to good use. I do not know about you but I would love a container of chocolate chips cookies as a gift.
- Give Essentials
My mom use to give me socks as a gift and I would roll my eyes. Now I get it. I love getting essentials as gifts because I know I will use them. They also do not need to be expensive. Buy a pack of holidays socks and divide them out as gifts.
- Shop Ahead of Time
Do not forget you do not need to buy a gift for everyone, but if you feel obligated (let me smack you…kidding) then start shopping ahead of time. This will make it easier on you when it comes to that paycheck. Every month put some money aside and purchase those gifts slowly and over time…with a budget!
- Avoid Shopping Just Because There’s a Sale
You need to think about what you want to buy ahead of time and create a list. This way when a sale comes up you can see if it actually applies to you. Remember you do not save money by spending money. So do not buy something just because it is on sale.