Yes, I’m wait late to this dog and pony show! Boy do I appreciate everything my parents did to pull off a fun holiday season, because as an adult there is a lot to be done behind the scenes; hence my delay in blog.
Everyone is always looking to save a buck during the holiday season. For the Control Freak House we certainly are trying to do the same with our expectant addition coming May 2016. While most of these tips are too late to put into play for this season, you can save them to start planning early in 2016! Here are some tips we use and I have found to help save during the holiday season.
- Start Early!
Seems like a no brainer, but yet many people are scrambling to finish their holiday shopping in the final hours before the gift giving begins. Shop throughout the year, this way you can be sure to look for the best deals and steals and by the time December hits you’ll have the majority of your shopping complete.
- Budget/Set Limits
Yes another no brainer, but many people set out to shop without a defined budget. Even if you can’t set an overall budget, think about how many people you need to buy for and set a price limit for each person or each grouping (family vs. friends vs. coworkers, etc.). Whether it’s $20 per person or $100, it will give you something to work from and you won’t find yourself going crazy with your wallet because YOU HAVE to have that gift for someone.
Yet another mistake especially for those of us that shop throughout the year. You shop and shop and shop and when you finally take a look at what you have, you have TOO MUCH! There are many easy ways to handle this. I’m a spreadsheet kind of girl and use Numbers via my MAC to track. One tab for Little Control Freak and Furry Control Freak (US), one tab for my side of the family, one tab for hub’s side of the family, and one tab that summarizes the full expenditures (Overview). These groupings all come from our joint spending (purchases for friends, co-workers, and what hubs and I buy each other come out of our own personal allowances – yes we give ourselves an allowance every month). This way we can see exactly what we have purchased, what we have yet to buy, and what we have already spent/plan to spend.
Now there are also apps for this, which may be a bit better because you then have it locally on your phone for reference at all times. I discovered an app called Santa’s Bag, a bit too late to implement this year, but I will certainly consider using it next year.
- Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Taco Tuesday…
Deals, steals, sales, door busters, all those fun words that surround Thanksgiving. I’m not a fan of heading out on Black Friday, but you can do a great deal of shopping in your pajamas from home. The internet, and my favorite Amazon, has changed the dynamic of savings shopping. As much as you may hate those few shopping days around Thanksgiving you can really find a lot of savings. The key is to be shopping for what you really need and want, not just buying because something is on sale, make sure you actually need/want the item as a gift.
- Email Your Family Christmas Card
This may be a major faux pas, but face it, ordering Christmas cards with your family photo and paying for the postage adds up really quick! We decided to save money this season buy emailing our card. Now don’t forget the people who don’t use email, shouldn’t be very many these days, be sure to send them a card snail mail so they aren’t left out. Saves money, saves trees, and saves time!Send via your own email or use an app, yes there is an app for this too, such as Red Stamp which is free! We were very happy with Red Stamp for our own card this year.
- New Decorations
It’s not necessary to buy new decor every season. In fact it can be quite fun and creative to find ways to maximize what you already have. If you do need to add on to your holiday decor, try one item each year or check out the dollar stores. You can buy a lot of inexpensive garland and fixings and make it into something spectacular, just use your imagination, not all your budget. Pinterest is your one stop shop for these ideas!
- What is the Season Really About?
How you choose to spend your holiday is totally up to you. If you can spend a lot of money great, if you can’t great! You have to do what works best for you. But whatever holiday you celebrate or religious background you follow during this season, keep in mind what it is really about. Gifts are great, but they aren’t the real gift, your memories, experiences, and loved ones are. So create memories in the best way you see fit 🙂