Last year was the first year we had a home that we could actually entertain in. We had previously lived in a 900 square foot 1960’s home with a terrible floor plan. When we moved I knew I wanted to start hosting a holiday. Since my brother hosts Thanksgiving every year I decided to host Christmas dinner. I didn’t realize how expensive it was to host a holiday dinner for 10 adults and two kids. This year I am all about saving money during Christmas even with hosting the holiday dinner.
Christmas is my favorite time of year. It is magical with twinkle lights, decorations, and music. The spirit is contagious and I just love to spread the good cheer this time of year. There are holiday parties and family get-togethers. There are festivals and events. It is the perfect time of year to get together and enjoy the season with others. However, this all comes with a price tag. How much are you willing to spend during the Christmas season?
I am all about saving money during Christmas while still having a magical experience for my family. I know when we have kids I will be looking to add even more money-saving tricks to our holiday. For now, I have a few tips to start saving money during Christmas no matter the size of your family.
Saving Money During Christmas is Easy with these 5 Tips
It’s Never Too Early to Start Planning
Saving money during Christmas doesn’t start at the beginning of the holiday season. The best thing you can do for your budget to save money year-round. Every week we put a little bit away and it makes the biggest difference. Our budget doesn’t suffer because we have been planning all year for how much we want to spend. We don’t turn to our credit cards either.
If you haven’t been saving for the holiday season all year you can still start planning now. You may look for cheaper menu options for your holiday dinner or decide to host a potluck style dinner instead.
Start planning who you will be giving gifts to ahead of time as well. May you have to remove a few people from your gift-giving list or find a more frugal option. That’s okay.
The biggest thing to saving money during Christmas is to plan ahead and stick to your budget.
Host a Secret Santa Gift Exchange
We have done Secret Santa for many years at work. We have also done the White Elephant gift exchange within our family. By doing a gift exchange like a secret Santa you can drastically cut down your gift-giving budget. You’ll only be buying one gift within a specified budget which makes shopping that much easier and cheaper.
Depending on the size of your secret Santa gift exchange you can draw names out of a hat or use an online program like Elfster.
Elfster is a Secret Santa Generator. You will have a host who inputs all of the information regarding the exchange. Then the host will be given a link for everyone in the exchange to use. You can enter your likes and dislikes to help your Santa get an idea of what you may like this holiday season. The computer will then match people for the gift exchange. This would be a great way to manage a secret Santa gift exchange in a workplace where you may not know everyone personally and there are many participants.
Create A List (or a Lot of Lists!)
Trello is the perfect place to organize your holiday celebration. You may want to create a few different lists for your holiday celebration. You can create one board with multiple lists if you want to keep all of your information together or you can create different boards for each idea.
- Christmas Dinner Meal Plan
- Christmas Dinner Grocery List
- Holiday Card Exchange
- Gift Planning
- Holiday Family Traditions
Trello is the perfect place to host this information because it can be easily edited, brought with you on the go, and shared with others if necessary. You can also keep it year after year to continually update and tweak.
It’s never too easy to start your holiday shopping. There are some families that like to shop all year round while others wait until Black Friday. My piece of advice is – don’t wait until the last minute to start shopping! You want to ensure that you can get the price for the gifts you are given and also ensure that it is available to buy.
Summer is a great time to shop because many retailers are struggling to make money and will hold sales to entice shoppers. These sales can be better than the sales offered during the holiday season.
You can also shop after the holiday season and stash gifts away for the following year. If your kids are little enough they won’t know that the toy isn’t the latest and greatest on the market. You can also snag gift sets for a fraction of the price after the holiday season.
This may be the hardest thing to do to start saving money during Christmas but I needed to bring it up. It’s okay to say no. You do not need to attend every holiday party or participate in every gift exchange. Your family and friends will understand that you just can’t do all the things.
We often find ourselves saying no during this time of year because it does not align with our family mission to slow down and really savor the season. Know what your family traditions are and decide ahead of time what is important for you to do this time of year. If something doesn’t align with your family values during Christmas just say no.
The holidays can be an expensive time of year but there are many things you do now to start saving money during Christmas.
Saving money during Christmas is easy if you plan ahead. Create a list of everything you need to purchase and would like to do during the holidays. Host a Secret Santa gift exchange and shop early if possible. Don’t forget it’s okay to say no during the holidays too.
Enjoy your holiday season. Christmas is one of the most magical times of the year and we all want to savor the season. Take a few days to really plan how you want your December to look and be intentional with your time and money.