7 Frugal Hacks to Make Christmas More Affordable.
Its that time of the year again; Christmas. The holidays can be an extraordinarily expensive couple of months. Whether it be going out to eat with the family, purchasing presents, donating to charity, taking a holiday vacation, etc. The month of December can feel like a black hole for money. For one, due to the prevailing culture, presents and Christmas go hand-in-hand. Furthermore, if you have young kids, you not only have to buy them presents from yourself, but also from Santa Clause. Its times like these that make you wonder if you should just tell your two-year-old kid that Santa does not exist.
However, presents for kids is just one of the expenses that come with the holiday. But, fear not, there are ways to save money during the holidays. Here I am going to outline seven frugal hacks to make Christmas more affordable.
1. Split Meals
Many things go with Christmas and the holidays. One of these things is getting together as a family and eating. Going out to dinner for Christmas is no doubt one of the most expensive meals you will have to purchase. However, eating in also can take a dent out of your wallet. There is mashed potatoes, cranberries, pie, dip, green beans, turkey, steak, roast beef, and every other food you can imagine. No matter where you are from, Christmas dinner is a food packed feast that people travel all over from to eat. A great way to cut the cost of Christmas a little is by splitting meals.
This can be accomplished a few ways. The first way is to have a “smorgasbord” like a meal, where everyone brings a little something. The neighbors can bring potatoes, your cousins can tackle the deserts, your parents can bring the appetizers, and if you can swing it, have the in-laws bring the meat.
A second way to accomplish this is by splitting meals by family. Maybe you cook for Christmas Eve but then go over to another family members house for Christmas Day dinner. This is a great way not to have to pay for and cook two gigantic, expensive meals in two days.
2. Plan Accordingly (Timing)
We all know Christmas is coming. There are countdowns everywhere. So, why is it always a surprise when three days before Christmas you have to run to the mall to make some last-second Christmas purchases? Planning is a big way to avoid high cost, high traffic stores, and an incredible amount of stress. For example, the best time to buy presents is right after Christmas the year before. Yes, it may be tough to hide them for that long, but it is financially a smart thing to do. Stores have monster sales after the holidays to clear out inventory. Do some planning and buy a bunch of presents while they are cheap.
3. Plan Accordingly (Financially)
Secondly, financial planning is huge for the holidays. Anticipate that you are going to spend a lot of money in the last three months of the year, and save up for it. Minimize spending throughout the year to ensure that you will not have to search for pennies between cushions come December. In addition to that, keep track of your average monthly spending. Knowing your budget is always good when going into a period of high spending. You know you are going to overspend, but you need to know how much you can overspend to be still financially sound.
4. Start Up A Secondary Flow Of Income
Having a secondary/passive income is a great idea in case of unexpected expenses and holidays. If you have money coming in passively, that supplements your primary income, saving for the holidays becomes a whole lot easier. What is a secondary/passive income you may ask? Essentially, it is a part-time job that you can do whenever you want. It may not be a lot of money coming in, but it is enough to help you out a bit. Survey Sites are a great way to build up this form of income. You can take surveys when you get off work, or on the weekends, and save up money that way. Check out our Top 20 Paid Online Survey Sites to see some websites that are guaranteed to help you build/start a secondary income.
In addition to Survey Sites, many other forms of websites can help you earn money. For example, there are data entry sites such as Virtual Bee where you can set your hours, and choose which tasks you want to complete. There are sites like Amazon Flex, where you can deliver Amazon packages with your car whenever you want to. Sites like these and many others are featured on our blog. It is a great resource to find unique money making websites that you can earn money on from home on your own time.
5. Shop Online for Christmas Gifts.
Beat the lines, crowded stores, parking lots from hell, and Christmas tunes on repeat on the speakers of Walmart. Specifically, shop online somewhere you can earn money on. Where would you find a site like this? Well, Ebates and Mr. Rebate are two online shopping sites that offer cash-back for purchases. Additionally, they feature top retail stores. Therefore there is a high chance that they have what you are looking for. If you are already going to be shopping, why not earn some extra money back from it? A couple of extra bucks in the stocking can make someone pretty excited.
6. Keep A Eye On Sales
This can be said for toys, retail items, and food. Stores often have sales around the holidays for products they know they can sell a lot of. Keep this in the back of your head when shopping. A coupon here or there can save you a good amount of money on something you were going to purchase regardless if you had a coupon or not.
7. Re-Use Decorations
Many things go with Christmas that can be pretty expensive. Christmas lights are not very cheap, and people find that they are purchasing those every year. Decorations for around the house can add up. You can cut back on cost if you keep these items in great shape, and re-use them each year. I know that my family has a box in the basement of Christmas lights and decorations that we use each year, and they have been around for five years or so. Keeping these decorations and lights looking nice can keep you from running out each year and purchasing new ones, at this year's price too I might add.