Are you surprised to see a Christmas tree on one of our posts? I know – we’re a bit crazy – but we also know that to get ready for the holidays means preparing early and having a plan. And if you remember from our giveaway just over a week ago, you all gave us some amazing tips on how to do just that! Plus, we mentioned we would list them all for you in a future post (this one) to let you have easy access to all your tips. And they were amazing!
Get yourself your favorite hot beverage, wrap yourself in a blanket and turn on some of your favorite Christmas carols for ambiance then get ready to read and learn some great tips to help you get ready for this holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years. And remember its never too early to start planning for the holidays!
Thank you to everyone that gave us your best tips – Enjoy!
If your making a lot of food for a crowd, start pies and other deserts the night before. Make good use of your microwave for veggies, and use the oven and those oven bags for your meats, they cook quick and stay moist! OH and if you use aluminum tray for cooking, dont cut the turkey in it, you have a chance of cutting through it and having a giant turkey mess that will take days to fully clean up! Oh and dont stress about the holidays, enjoy the company you have and take deeps breaths when you feel the stress coming!
Start picking up gifts here and there starting around September. You’ll find lots of things that are on sale or clearance that your friends and family would want for gifts.
I shop black friday (yep I’m crazy) and win giveaways!
i prepare for the holidays by buying presents all year round so that I don’t have to shop in the crazy holiday crowds
We love to have lots of Christmas cookies around the holidays, but with three little kids it can be hard to find the time to bake all the kinds that I would like. So I like to have cookie swaps. Invite some friends and each person bakes and brings a dozen cookies with a copy of the recipe for each person, including themselves. It’s a fun evening to get together and everyone goes home with an assortment of cookies. I freeze mine and can pull them out throughout the season as we have company over. I usually have plenty and am able to send a platter with my husband to work too. The rest of my baking doesn’t feel as rushed and I can really involve my kids in the fun.
Grab several friends and do a holiday sweet swap. I usually do one with my Mom, Mother in Law, and both Sisters in Law. We all make a huge batch of one thing then we swap with one another. I can make peanut butter fudge in the morning and by the evening I’ll have Peanut Butter Fudge, cookies, Peanut Butter balls, Bourbon Balls, and Banana Bread! This way you don’t have to buy a ton of different ingredients you just have to buy for your one recipe. We LOVE doing this.
I buy presents a little at a time as the year goes on…then when unexpected birthday parties, showers, or weddings come up…I am ready to go…not to mention I make gift baskets for friends who I know will use the HBA stuff I get free or cheap during the year 🙂
I love giving homemade goodies as gifts but the time it takes to mix and bake everything is crazy! I usually make candies way ahead of time and then freeze them (they last a really long time if you have them sealed in a zipper bag). I also prep my cookie doughs ahead of time and freeze those as well. They last at least three months if kept sealed in the freezer. Then all I have to do is defrost them in the fridge and bake them as needed, so there are always fresh cookies somewhere in my house (my father-in-law can vouch for this, haha!). I also start my shopping in July or August. It’s a great time to get clearance deals on summer stuff.
Shop year round for Christmas gift. That way you can take advantage of sales.
Use your calendar to block out a few days that will be spent on time to shop or prepare your house for company. Once the holiday activities start, you can get caught short of time and end up harried!
Now is the time to stock up on food staples that you know you are going to need for those holiday meals, and tape and ribbons and bows and anything else that you can get a head start on. You will beat the crowds, too!
Get your shopping done early so you can enjoy the holiday season and remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Use Swagbucks to redeem Amazon gift cards to help pay for Christmas. It doesn’t take long to accumulate points and with Amazon’s already low prices, you’re sure to score some great deals.
I make all my casseroles, snack foods and cold desserts the day or two before everyone arrives, that way I have more time to spend with my family. Which is what the hollidays are about!!
Take long deep breaths…. just kidding. This year I’m hosting Thanksgiving and instead of buying everything I need all at once, I’m gradually stocking up on sale items each week.
I start “collecting” things whenever I see a great sale. For instance – when Target and Walmart drop their toy prices, I stockpile. And, whenever I get a great deal on H&B products, I stock up. Then, I put all my great finds in a closet and when I’m ready to begin sorting for friends and family, it makes the task a lot more fun. It’s like having my own department store closet, if you will. I also use large wicker baskets to hold freebies that I get in the mail and probably won’t use myself. I attach these little items to the top of the gift box under the bow or put in a little Christmas stocking then attach it to the gift box.
Make all your Christmas cookies on one day (my mom and I always do this the day after Thanksgiving – after morning shopping). Keep the cookies in the freezer and you are set to go if you need to make up a plate as a small gift last minute.
My tip would be to pack a few days in advance. That way when I remember something I forgot, I still have time to put it in my bag instead of remembering that I forgot something when I get to my destination!
Make an EXACT budget and list ahead of time. Way ahead of time. Like, save part of your tax refund in an account especially for Christmas, and decide who you’ll buy for and what your price point is for each person. Then, at the end of summer, determine gifts for each person if possible and start looking out for items in your price point! Last year we sent out xmas cards, bought gifts for ourselves and our two children, and ALL of our large families, and only spent $300. Challenge yourselves!
I earn gift cards with Swagbucks, My Points etc. A lot of blogs let you know about really good sells around the holidays. Last year I bought 2 pairs of jeans from Target for 13.00$. You can get really good buys online@ free shipping with codes.
I would probably just say plan ahead….long before you think you should start shopping. I try to start buying Christmas presents in Oct. or sooner, so I can really save. Swagbucks helps a lot too!
Don’t get stuck on one specific gift if you don’t have to. Know your recipients likes and find something for them that is a great deal.
i prepare for the holidays by entering tons of giveaways to help save money, or win christmas gifts… also i save a little more money every week!
I try to clean ahead of time. I do a deep clean in October and inventory my stock pile of gifts from the rest of the year. I also buy the gift certificates from city deals and eversave, plum district, etc. and keep the current ones in my email so I can print and give. This was I spend less but give more.
I actually Christmas shop year round as I find great deals on things. I also buy my wrapping paper/bows/ribbons the days after Christmas when it gets marked down to really cheap. By the time Christmas season rolls around, I have everything I need!
Think outside the box! This is your first line of defense when it comes to all things holiday. Nothing is set in stone and your kids will be thankful that mommy managed to stay sane even if she cut a few corners to do so.
Start shopping EARLY!
Prepare in advance, have your veggies and other things you can prepare early ready. I also have family bring snacks we can set out while waiting. Shares the expense and I don’t spend all my time in the kitchen trying to make a whole meal.
I have a “present” closet, and all through the year, I take advantage of clearance sales on toys,electronics, household, jewelry, and beauty products. I buy these items at bargain prices and put them in my ” present closet”. That way, the process of buying presents is a little less stressful, because most of my shopping is done before Christmas and I bought them at discount prices. This is also great for birthdays throughout the year!
Plan ahead yes. Also do as much shopping on black friday as you can!
Plan ahead yes. Also do as much shopping on black friday as you can!
When we make holiday meals we make our stuffing in muffin tins. Everyone’s favorite part is the crunch stuff, so now everyone gets some of it!
It seems every year I promise myself to prepare earlier and usually don’t. But this year will be different! My tip (and goal) this year is to start making Christmas cookies and baked goods a few weeks earlier than last year. Freezing the cookies/desserts will make the holidays so much less stressful because I won’t have to bake at the last minute like I did last year. “Bake and freeze” is my new mantra and my holiday tip.
http://www.debtguru.com/free-holiday-how-to-booklet —-this will be my 4th year using it! You write everyone you are buying for in—and brain storm the gift ideas and a budget for each person 😀
I get one of these every year and it helps cut out the head ache – and i stick to it!!!
My family is scattered around several distant states. I want to make sure I get something that my young grandaughters really want and like, so ,I just send checks to permit the purchase of the items. This also saves paper and trees and takes a burden off the Post Office and usually makes everyone VERY HAPPY at the lowest possible pricing.
This year I started Christmas shopping in about March. I have watched for deals and sales on items my teenagers are interested in. I am just about done . When I do go out and shop, I go with a list of things and stick with it and don’t impulse buy, that is how you overspend. I have been able to get alot more for my money by starting early and not waiting til the last minute.
My favorite way to prepare for the holidays, Christmas specifically, is to shop on Black Friday. I try to get as much Christmas shopping done before December, that way I can really enjoy the holidays. 🙂
For extended family, each year I choose one or two themes for homemade gifts – it might be fleece blankets made with fleece purchased 50% off the day after Thanksgiving, or photo gifts with all the great photo deals you guys pass along. Sometimes I make salves and lotions for everyone, or cooking mixes. I try to make sure the items are personalized in some way, but doing it this way saves both time and money as I can purchase supplies for all the projects when I find a good sale, and have everything I need on hand.
Deviled Eggs are a big treat around the holiday time of the year. We have found a tip that makes the egg shells just fall off. After your eggs have bolied long enough, set your hot pan in one side of your sink, have ice water in a large bowl setting on the other side of the sink dip out 2-3 hot eggs into the ice cold water, crack the eggs and the shells practically fall off. Continue this process until all eggs are peeled. Place in a covered dish in the refrigerator and they will be ready to be prepared later. Also have a WalMart bag to throw the egg shells in.
My best tip: keep it simple.
Lists. Lists help me stay organized – I get this from my dad! But don’t get too bogged down with sticking to the list. Perfect example, my dad use to make lists for everything. One vacation he actually scheduled “3:00-3:15 – fun”…
I keep my Christmas card list in a word document so that I can just pull it up when Iwant to send cards. During the year I can easliy make changes or add new addresses. I also try to get the cards out early before all the busyness of the holiday starts. i buy the cards at the end of the season and save for the next year.You can find great bargains!
As a college student, I start shopping for christmas gifts all year round. Also after every season I buy the clearance items so that I’ll have more decorations for when the season comes around the following year. It saves me a lot of money and allows more money for my tuition. I also watch for food sales that are non-perishable or that I can easily freeze.
I like to try and prepare and plan ahead so I can have time to relax and enjoy the season. I enjoy reading several new Christmas books, as well as the Bible’s story of the nativity and Two From Galilee!
Our family uses pillow-cases to wrap holiday gifts in. They can then be re-used on the bed or for wrapping next year’s gift to a family member.
Eco-friendly and inexpensive.
We put away a small amount every single paycheck throughout the year so that when things go on sale or when its time to buy we have money set aside for that specific reason.
I take a day off from work two weeks or so before Christmas. That gives me time to do last minute shopping or gift wrapping before we start our holiday traveling. If everything’s done, it gives me a whole day to read, drink hot cocoa, and rest up for the big rush.
Normally, I am so on top of things, but this year with a little one, I’ll be lucky to throw a wreath on the door!!
I like to start buying gifts as early as possible that way I’m spending a little here and there over a few months instead of one big chunk of money all at the same time.
We usually enjoy the holidays as a family. We have 4 kids so we can have our own party without additional guests 🙂 My daughter’s birthday is the day after Christmas and for all our kids’ birthdays, we go on a trip. So as far as feast preparation, we don’t worry about that as much. We do give gifts out to family and friends and that’s the bulk of our holiday preparation. Lucky for us, I learned to coupon and have been taking advantage of deals all through out the year. I snag a gift here and there and have a nice stash at work. The other day, I decided to clean up my stock at work and take them home. My husband was so amazed to see my truck full of stuff. I guess we’re done as far as holiday shopping goes 🙂 Next on the list: Plan our holiday trip!
Plan Plan Plan and start early! Last year so many stores sent free $ coupons that I made a point to go use them and only spend what they sent. I did receive lots of $10 off $10 last year…made for some great gifts…especially for teachers.
I read a Christmas story every night, whether it is from the Chicken Soup Series or a chapter from a Christmas novel or a verse from the chapter of Luke. It helps relax me and remember the meaning of the season!
I try to start early, and I set limits for each person. I don’t go over my budget!
I love to have a small notebook in my purse of what I need to buy so when I have a few extra minutes (or dollars) I can use them wisely 🙂
Start early for sure. Watch for sales online and in-store so you learn the bottom line.
I start shopping the day after Christmas, lol! I keep a gift box in my closet, alot of it will get used as birthday gifts throughout the year, but come Christmas time I am soooo happy. Another tip is use all the samples I get as stocking stuffers!
I start putting money aside months in advance and I stick with my budget. I not only ask family and friends what’s on their wish list but I listen to see if anyone ever hints at what they are wishing and hoping for. When I find a great deal on a gift I know I was plannning on getting I get it. Layaway is always something I do as well and I just make sure every year I have a list of gifts and the stores I need to hit up and if there is a coupon or a sale I make sure to take full advantage of it. I try not to go crazy because in the end it’s not about the presents it’s about the people in your life that matter most and the time you spend with them. 🙂
I work best with lists. I keep a notebook at the computer with me and make different lists for all of the different tasks that need to be done. Whenever I’m working and something comes to mind that needs to get done I write it down right away.
Prizes I win from contests I use as Christmas presents…saves me money and I have fun entering them
My husband and I are using are rewards points that we’ve accumulated from our credit card for Christmas this year. We have a Chase freedom card and pay the balance off every month. We have over $700. I also use our swag buck and his bonus checks so that we are not spending any “real” money.
Start two weeks ago!! For once I actually am starting early, and I feel way more relaxed and able to make good choices 🙂
Contribute a little money from your paycheck to a Christmas fund throughout the year. The HR company my employer uses does this for me, so around Thanksgiving I get a check to spend on everyone’s gifts. This sure beats having to take money out of the budget all at once.
Not waiting til the last minute to shop so you can enjoy your time.
Shop Amazon early and compare prices on http://camelcamelcamel.com/ Sometimes an item will go on sale on Amazon right around Christmastime so you would want to wait to buy it, for example this toy is currently $14.95 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Ocean-Wonders-Soothe-Seahorse/dp/B000W3XEQM/ref=sr_1_4?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1318621900&sr=1-4. But when you look it up on Camelcamelcamel you can see that the price has historically dropped to just $8 each December for the past two years.
Other items may show that they normally go up in price closer to the holidays, for example, this camera: http://camelcamelcamel.com/Nikon-Digital-Camera-18-55mm-3-5-5-6G/product/B0009GZANC. Check the site and know when to snag the best deal!
buy thru out the year at sales, thrift stores, garage sales etc.
I have a special closet I keep all my gifts in so they don’t get lost and I can see whaat I have at a glance.
I buy baskets to fill and use coupons to get free samples and good buys on beauty supplies to put in them.
If you can buying after xmas for next year is very cost effective too!
I have joined swagbucks and have over $200.00 in Amazon gift cards. I am now starting to watch sales on Amazon and using my gift cards
I started a list in July of what I needed to get or do for Christmas. I take that list once per week and look to see if I have a coupon for something so that I can go ahead and start marking off items from my list. It really helps because I start thinking and planning way ahead. It makes Christmas not as stressful.
I try to have 80% of my gifts bought and wrapped by Nov.1. Then I can relax and buy the other 20% during the big holiday saies!
Hands down… the very best preparation is buying after Christmas novelties for pennies…. then the next Thanksgiving, I wrap them and bring them to the big family Thanksgiving dinner and tell my nieces and nephews and my own children that I Have thought about them all year. They are soo excited to get an unexpected gift and it kicks off the Christmas season for me.
Like many others have said we shop year round for Christmas and birthdays. As we see things on sale that remind us of someone we pick them up and mark them off our list. We try to plan in the summer as well and we come up with things the kids can make for teachers and others. The girls love doing the crafts all summer and then our gifts are done long before Christmas and it is something from the heart, handcrafted from us!
I have 4 small kids and all have birthdays in December and January… on TOP of Christmas. And I host Thanksgiving. So my best preparation tip is to prepare all year long. I pick up gifts here and there as I see great deals the boys will like and I stock up on shelf stable items that I will use when I host Thanksgiving and Christmas. That way I can enjoy the holidays, too, and keep my stress-level and pocketbook in check.
We split up all the work in our family, so no one person is doing too much.
Make a budget and stick to it.
Money envelopes are awesome for Holidays. Write each persons name on a envelope and insert the budgeted amount of money in each.
In the end one kid might have more gifts than another though you spent the same and I think its a good lesson for kids…some things cost more hence less gifts.
Last year I bought so much even in budget that we saved a rubbermaid full for Easter and Birthdays ( and still have some left for this Christmas!)
I shop sales..bogo sales, online deals, Targets big sale etc.
Also Swagbucks ( amazon gift cards) have been a awesome way to stretch my Christmas budget.
For dinners, I always hold myself to the main course for holiday dinners and but to ease some of the cooking pressures, i usually task out some side dishes for others to bring.
The way i best prep for the holidays is to just STAY ORGANIZED! Make lists and keep track of what you’ve spent and who you’ve bought for. I have to do this-or it’s way too easy to overspend.
I have my mom and my brother’s family over for Christmas Eve brunch every year. With large extended families, we get invited to multiple Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners and don’t always attend the same ones. This way, we always get to see each other and spend time as a family.
I stick with a couple of survey sites and always cash out for Amazon gift cards. I apply them to my account and try not to use that money until it’s time to buy Christmas presents. Then, all I have to do when it’s shopping time is add things to my card and use the gift card balance. I’ve got over $100 since January.
The best way that I prepare for the holidays, particularly Christmas it to start gift shopping early, way early. I purchased a gift for the following Christmas last year at an after Christmas sale. The only problem is keeping track of gifts throughout the year and remembering what and for whom I already purchased!
Make a list of all the items that you are going to get and then be ready for the times when they go on sale or there is a coupon so you can purchase them for a fraction of the cost.
Watch the TTC’s website for deals!
My best tip is to make lists. Lists of gifts that I need to buy, lists of the decorating that needs to be done. Lists of what I will be baking, and who it will be going to. Lists of parties that I need to attend.
I try to shop online or during off-hours to reduce the stress of dealing with crowds.
Simply to start early. Me, two people, two presents, all done. And it hardly needs to be complicated – if you know them well, you’ll know what to get. And if you don’t… well, everyone likes cookies! LOL
I start shopping in October using points, checks, gc that I have I gotten from survey sites & swagbucks to purchase gifts. I also make out my holiday cards so that those are ready to go. As things are purchased I wrap them & keep track in a notebook of what I have already & what still needs to be bought.
I make a list and shop online wholesale.
Shop “piecemeal” here and there whenever you find a bargain, coupon, etc. It all adds up to huge savings.
Starting in October, I start a word document that has a list of names of people to buy for and I start collecting links to gifts to buy for them.
Starting in October, I start a word document that has a list of names of people to buy for and I start collecting links to gifts to buy for them.
Our families usually come to our house for Christmas. Since I have to wrap all of the presents while preparing everything else. Cleaning the house seems to go to the back of the list so I now hire a cleaning service to come in to do that just before the holiday.
the best way to prepare for the Holidays is to START EARLY! that’s the best tip I can give. Don’t ever wait till the last minute…
Start making lists in early October and buy things slowly as you find coupons or items on sale.
My tip is to just breathe! Sometimes we’re so caught up with if the stand underneath is dusted and if the bathroom towels smell fresh. We need to be happy and enjoy our loved ones more minutes out of the day.
prepare ahead and do as much as you can a few days before your holiday party is the way I do it most things taste better when the flavors marry anyway so just do a list and start a wk before and knock out the things to make ahead and just set the table 🙂 happy holidays
Shop online, use apps on a smartphone to find great deals, price around if you can, shop early (as in the summer or fall), find out what everyone would like (even if you want it to be a surprise as for a list of 5 or 6 things and you choose what to get them) so you already know what you are buying. Shop discount stores when possible, scour newspapers for coupons (Lord and Taylor usually have a good one in NYC papers on Wednesdays, Macy’s has them all the time in the papers). Use rewards points (ie: CVS, Staples) to buy things.
My kids and I fill the house with home made decorations, home made goodies, and music. There’s so much spirit that you only need a small present or two to make the day complete. When they’re old enough I’ll let them pick out a present for each other so they can get as much joy out of giving presents as they do opening their own.
We started making homemade gifts last year for famly members and they absolutely loved it! I think everyone already has SO much anyway and a homemade gift (esp from children) is always more meaningful.
I go to the thrift stores starting around August . This is after I have figured out the unique crafts I am going to do for Christmas presents. I look all over the web and magazines for the best crafts. The thrift stores usually have 90% of the things I use and then i get started making crafts . I get to not feel that Christmas panic and I love making crafts and I spend so mucg less.
Budget for Christmas gifts throughout the year. Buy in advance when you can!
Start as early as possible. Make a menu and STICK WITH IT! Make a list from the menu so you don’t run out as you are cooking. LoL. And be sure to enjoy each moment. It only comes once (or twice) a year, depending on which holidays you cook for!
I start early around September and I buy baskets and antique ornaments from thrift stores. All year long I buy little gourmet items, or international sweets ( meijer has an international aisle) and little things the people on my list would love. I also started sweeps early this year and have won many presents to give away! I have to devote at least 1-2 hours a day entering, but I have won some nice things to give.
I bake the week before Christmas, I bake candy, mini pumpkin and banana breads, and cookies. I put them in tins and wrap them festively and then decorate the baskets.
I will check yard sales and garage sales all summer and fall for unique ornaments or baskets. Everyone loves these baskets. I will put fillers in there as well, like hard candies and vintage lace napkins or cloth ones that are elegant and antique to line the bottoms of the baskets. I also buy my other christmas presents or basket fillers in October and on black Friday ( the day after Thanksgiving). I will not have any debt related to Christmas. Oh! I start buying my Christmas baking supplies in August and I buy a little each month all the way until December. It is easier on my budget then to just buy it all at once! The dollar store has little bread tins to bake in and I give the baked bread in the tin as a present so it is like two presents!
There are themes you can make up for your baskets: Movie night ( gift card for movie rental or put in a movie your self, a small cuddle blanket, popcorn, soda, candy.)
Spa night: ( pedicure and manicure items, slippers, a mini bottle of wine with a cute wineglass from the dollar store with a pretty ribbon on it, an inflatable bath pillow from dollar store, some candles and a dollar store relaxation c.d.)
Chocolate Lovers: 2 mugs, cocoa mix, bag of marshmallows, chocolate everthing..
Coffee lovers: coffee mugs, starbucks g.c. , gourmet coffee , sweet rolls or coffee cake
Book worms: good book, big tea mugs, herbal tea, cookies a small fleece blanket.
You get the point~
My favorite holiday tip is one I’ve been doing for a few years now. I keep a stash of “emergency” gifts for unexpected guests. That way I am never caught unprepared. I have a box on my closet shelf that I add to all year. Some things I have include nice ornaments, gourmet non-perishable food, items that I can get on sale at a good price and that are good generic gifts, gift cards for places like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts and also toys! You never know when you’ll need a gift for a deserving kid at Christmas!
We read a book called Jotham’s Journey to the kids throughout the month of December. It helps to set their minds and ours as to what the Christmas season is really about!
I used to work in retail & dislike the attitudes of angry last minute shoppers, so I chose not to be one of them. I usually start in June picking up clearance items at different stores, or even on-line. Around October or November you notie the clearance items disappear so now you have to pay full price for everything. I pack them all away and after Thanksgiving I pull them all out, sort & then wrap them. Conclusion: I am finished shopping before December and don’t have to fight the crowds.
I keep a list all year long on my computer of people I buy gits for. When I see an idea or they mention something they would like I add it to the list. When it’s time to shop I have great ideas for everyone.
I do my Christmas shopping all year round! I usually finish almost all of it by the end of October so then I can just enjoy the holidays without having to be shopping in all the crowds!
We take this time as family time rather than a holiday. While we do take advantage of sales, which includes losts of lists and laying everything out we want to purchase. Other than that, our biggest planning is to have clean sheets on the bed so we can sleep the days away that we have off from our hard work! 🙂
i shop all year long for the holidays/birthdays…whenever the price is right using sales, coupons, rebates, etc….i also just started using a coupon cutting service that buys the coupons i dont use and sells me the ones i do..u get credit for the ones u send in so u dont have to pay for the ones u need!
My tip is to just relax. Try to spend more time with friends and family, and make it less about the “giving.”
Shop online and ALWAYS look for promo codes! I go to www.retailmenot.com and usually find up to date codes I can use, or just type into Google and usually find a few that work. It’s a quick way to save money!
I prepare for the holidays by buying gifts whenever I see a good deal at any time of year. That way, I don’t stress myself out with last minute shopping and spending more than my budget.
Stock up on batteries before hand! It never fails that some decorations need new batteries and of course the toys that begin trickling in around the first of December.
Budgeting: It is good to shop early and to prepare your meal items as early as you can before the big feast. When I was working in finance I noticed everyone used up their household operation money for Christmas and shortchanged the utility companies, the landlord, the mortgage company, and some even dared to skip the car payment. Many people way overspend during the holiday season.
1st) Keep all your bills paid up and on time. If you can save enough to pay 2 months ahead on your bills such as the mortgage payment/rent or the car payment you are already putting yourself in a better safety zone.
2nd) Each month throughout the year, try to put back a small amount of money into a holiday fund. Also keep in mind, that it can be expensive to celebrate several holiday’s so close together. (Do you really need $200 worth of Halloween merchandise ? When were kids, we put together our own costumes from what we had at home). For Thanksgiving, consider doing a family “pot-luck” get together. That way the expense and the preparation time is divided up among all and you will be much less exhausted. (You can do the same for Christmas, and it will save you money)
3rd) Cut back on other expenses.
You can find the money for the holidays if you become more conscious of where you are spending it. Easy places to save include cutting back on eating out, those frequent stops at fast food drive thru’s (a biggie everyone), buying too much junk food at the grocery store (another biggie), and you can also simplify what you spend on cleaning products, as well as health and beauty items. You can save on Gasoline by planning your trips to be more efficient. (UPS drivers learn to take routes that utilize primarily right turns. This cuts down on waiting in the turning lane burning up fuel). If you have several places to go in one day, figure out the fastest and most efficient route to take, and do all of your business that you can within the same geographical area. Pick up needed groceries such as milk or bread on the way home from work instead of making a separate trip back to the store.
Also, cut down on using “shopping” or “window shopping” as a way to combat boredom.
4. Be sure to save money for the after Christmas sales. There are several families in our area that have Christmas AFTER Christmas. You can use the sales to buy different decorations for next year, or discounted gifts for other celebrations during the year.
5. Family crafts. Kids love to make things and they feel special when their arts and crafts are highlighted in the home. Make decorations for the Holidays out of simple inexpensive things like construction paper, aluminum foil, fabric scraps, miscellaneous junk you have stored in the house or shed. Be creative. Hand made decor items make a home feel inviting and warm. These also make nice keepsakes, even the one’s mommy and daddy made.
6. Credit cards: If you do decide to shop with the plastic, be sure you are using your lowest interest rate cards, and the cards which have a generous payment grace period (such as 10-15 days). Too often people think if they shop a particular store they must use the store cards. Store cards like JC Penney, Walmart, Kmart, Sears, and Specialty Shops, most of the time are in the 18% and higher interest rate range. Try to get a low rate Visa, or Mastercard before the holidays.
7. Start planning next year’s holidays right after Christmas. It is those last minute preparations that can be so hectic and costly.
8. Be sure to allow time for rest and recreation during the holiday season. We all need 1 day a week to just get everything off of our minds and to rest our bodies. You will feel better, think more clearer, make better judgement decisions, and have a better feeling of control.
Happy Holidays !
For the holidays, I like to collect gifts throughout the year when I see items that would be perfect. I keep a log of who I purchase for and a column of the holidays they get gifts (birthday, xmas, v-day, etc.) As I buy a gift a note what it is and check it off in the appropriate column. I hate the thought of picking up last-minute gifts on Christmas Eve or anytime after Thanksgiving. I like to pre-order items as well.
By the time December rolls around, people are in such a panic to order items that they don’t have time to read reviews and consider multiple options. I just find this way the easiest. I already have my gifts wrapped and put away in the closet.
My tip is to get everyone involved. If everyone helps buy and prepare the meal, it’s less cost and stress. My family does this and everyone has fun … we’re all in the kitchen together, creating and laughing. In reality, we have more fun preparing everything together than we have actually sitting down to eat (and that’s a blast so you know the prep is tons of fun). It’s one easy way to make the holidays easier on everyone!
start scouting for sales and coupons.
Make a list several months in advance of everyone who needs a gift, with a few ideas jotted down. Carry it with you so if you are out and find something you can compare it to the list!
I have three tips that never, ever fail me but since I can only leave one…
My most valuable tip is to start the following year’s holiday shopping (especially Christmas) immediately after the most recent holiday. I know that often people are broke right after the holidays, but once you can get yourself on this kind of pattern, it almost flows like water, particularly when it comes to shopping for the adults or older teens in your life. Post-holiday sales offer tremendous savings and can allow you to at least get a head start on the coming year. Every year, I save hundreds on gift items, holiday decor, wrapping paper, and even canned food items that are typically used only for the holidays. If you do this every year, you may even build a handy stockpile of wrapping paper, clear tape, Christmas lights and other specialty items to use during really lean times.
I prep for the holidays all year long by saving up rewards points & cards and cashing in on everything at the end of the year for gifts!
Plan ahead, use swagbucks, make homemade gifts.
My best advice is to start Holiday preperations E A R L Y !
It is never to early to start:
saving (swagbucks, mypoints, irazoo, etc)
picking up great deals (using coupons, money saving blogs, clearance sales, free item offers, etc)
planning: crafts, menu, baking, wrapping, hiding (LOL) etc
and RELAXING AND ENJOYING IT ALL, because it will be over before you know it
I had a friend do that and I always swore I would follow the idea and never have. Thanks for reminding me to start my own closet. It’s a great idea.
Start the year before at the after Christmas sales.
Make lie dough now and freeze for hectic times to come.
I watch for amazing sales throughout the year and buy some gifts early. Sometimes I end up using those gifts before Christmas (for Birthdays or Father’s Day) but for the most part, I save them for Christmas.
My most organized years were the years that I used the Flylady Holiday Journal from flylady.com. I stayed in control and had much less stress than usual when I followed her tips, starting early and planning ahead. She has a lot of good ideas for clutter free gifts, too!
Shop on line. Huge time saver and money saver since you probably won’t make as many impulse purchases!
I shop on line, save my time
I started my Christmas list, and my sister, mom, daughter, and I meet weekly to start making our Christmas gifts. We began home made tags last week, and they’re really neat! I love home made gifts and tags, etc. I have started putting aside some extra money in my gift envelope, so I can pick up any deals I see too. We may begin making Christmas cookie dough and freezing it beginning in November. Then we can bake them off when we have more time.
Seems as though we always want a sparkling clean house when the Christmas season rolls around so I try to do as much as possible a little bit at a time. For instance, maybe I could dust inside the china cabinet -a couple of weeks before. Does anyone look in there? Not sure but I’m covered if they do!