How to save money during the holidays

The most expensive holiday of the year is just a few days away. The food, gifts, decorations, cards and all of the little extras can really add up. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the season Santa-style on a Humbug budget.

Great tips to save money during the holidays. Photo credit © pogonici on Fotolia

Host a cookie swap

Holiday baking can be time consuming and costly if you are making different desserts for the season. This calls for a lot of groceries and you usually end up only using half or a quarter of what you had purchased for your recipe.

With a cookies swap, you get a group of friends together and each pick one dessert recipe; either a cookie or squares. Then you make a dozen of your recipe for each person in the swap (and make a dozen for you to keep).

For example, if you do a cookie swap with five friends. You pick one cookie recipe and make six dozen of that one cookie. Then a time is set for everyone to meet and drop off the five dozen cookies. In the end, you are left with six different desserts (one dozen each of five different desserts, and your own one dozen).

You end up saving money because you are not buying a lot of different ingredients and you can purchase what you need for your recipe in bulk.

Recycle last year’s cards

Keep this years cards that were given to you and store them away with your holiday decorations. Next year, take them out and give them new life.

First, this gives you a list of who sent you cards the previous year to return the sentiment. Second, you can us the images on the front of previous years cards to make into gift tags, or as a fun advent calendar insert. Thoughtful, penned messages from loved ones can also be saved in scrapbooks, frames, ornaments, and more.

This saves both the environment and your check book.

Buy on sale

Keep an eye out for those sales and consider the item’s full value when gift giving. For example, if you’ve set a limit of $50 per person, and you find an item regularly priced at $50 on sale for $30, then consider yourself done for that person.

Entertain on a budget

Spending time with friends and family over the holidays doesn’t have to be costly either. Host a potluck party and ask each guest to bring a favourite appetizer. Make one to two appetizers yourself, and your guests will bring the rest. This is also a great icebreaker if your guests don’t know each other.

Stock up after the holidays

Wait until after Christmas to buy your decorations. Your choices will be limited, but you will be able to find some great deals on what is left.

You can also purchase next year’s cards and gift wrap at this time if you are running low at the end of the season. This way you will be all stocked up and ready to go next year at a fraction of the cost.

Do you have any other tips for this time of year? Add them in the comments.

Found in Christmas, Money