Festively Frugal for the Holidays
As the holiday season approaches, many among the ranks of the newly frugal may be asking themselves, “How can our family enjoy the holidays while sticking to our budget?” Gift giving, holiday meals, entertainment, and travel are a part of the season, and these tips can help keep the holidays festive AND frugal.
Generous Gifts on a Grinchy Budget: Whether it is a gift exchange at the office, or shopping for the family, gift giving can put a large dent in the budget. For those preferring to shop online, holiday promotional codes offering discounts and free shipping are often available. If a discount or promotional offer is not advertised on the site, run a quick search engine inquiry. Consider establishing a designated email account to receive discounts and coupons, then sign up at your favorite retailers for their e-newsletters, special offers or mobile coupons. Have a credit card or travel rewards program membership? Those points or credits can often be converted into gift cards, which then can be gifted or used to purchase gifts without paying out of pocket.
Festively Frugal Feasting: Hosting the holiday meal? Instead of making one large trip to the market, start early, adding a handful of shelf-stable items each week. By late October, grocery displays include holiday items such as cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin, baking staples and gravy. Make sure to clip the coupons from the Sunday paper, and use them to purchase sale items to increase your savings. By spreading out the purchases over several trips, you can avoid the sticker shock of having to stock up all at once!
Economical Entertainment: Take advantage of free local gatherings. Many cities and towns host holiday parades, town
tree lightings, concerts, and cultural performances. For outdoor events, bring your own thermos of hot chocolate and
candy canes and avoid spending on pricier treats. Invite family and friends to a holiday movie marathon, or host an open house and invite guests to bring their favorite holiday comfort foods.
Thrifty Travel: To find the best holiday travel deals, start as early as possible and comparison shop. Does the destination require air travel, or is it feasible to drive or take a train? Avoiding peak travel periods, even by shifting the travel dates by only a day or two, can result in large savings. It may also be less expensive to stay in a central location and take advantage of public transportation, rather than incurring rental car expenses. Save on hotel expenses by staying with family or friends, or perhaps arrange a house swap. Another savings benefit of finding accommodations with kitchen facilities is that it reduces dining expenses.
Reducing holiday spending does not have to be daunting. By following these frugal tips, a budget savvy holiday season is just around the corner!