While rich with family– financially, the holidays can be a tough time. Unless you have secret well-heeled elf, you’re probably like me, still reeling from the recession. Put the mistletoe over you and your thrifty side and plan to save with these eight tips. Consider them my gift. If you light a menorah, most of these work for Chanukah too.
1) Use e-Bay
Not just to buy presents. Although it’s a great potential source for that too! Consider selling your unneeded belongings. Think of Christmas as a time to both downsize and upgrade for the next year. What don’t you need? Have old gifts from last year nobody used? An ugly old Christmas sweater? Tis the season! You can make a lot of money this way. Amazon’s a fantastic alternative if you want to sell books.
One quick caveat: E-Bay does require some effort. You’ll need to set up an account, photograph each item, list it and ship it. But it’s a great holiday project. For less expense and trouble, you might even consider posting on craigslist for free. A local may even pick them up in person.
2) Save money using Twitter
Yes. Social networking sites can legitimately save you money. Here’s how: hashtag “saving money,” “discounts,” “coupons,” and other such frugal terms and it will connect you to others who are more than happy to share their money saving tips. You might want to also consider following Amazon, eBay and other big retailers. They often tweet about their latest deals.
3) Cut down a tree
Instead of buying a tree, depending on where you live, you can cut one down for only the cost of a permit (usually $10) at a National Park. It not only saves money, it creates a memorable rugged experience and helps manage a national forest! More info here.
5) Get creative with your stocking stuffers
If your family is used to a few expensive smaller gifts in their stockings, consider giving vouchers wrapped in candy canes this year. Perhaps a “get out of making your bed this morning” card for the kids. Offer experiences: a “picnic in the park,” or “snow man making assistance” for your spouse.
5) Switch Supermarkets
One thing is for certain: the holidays involves a ton of food shopping. If you’re used to high-end grocery stores, consider discount supermarkets. Their aisles are stocked during the holiday season with equally excellent Christmas treats and goods. Often, they even stock the exact same products as more expensive stores for half the price.
6) Buy less food
It’s easy to overestimate how much food you really need. Try this great resource (little known within the USA). It has a portion calculator. Having a party? It will calculate what you’ll need per person and dependent on how many hours your party lasts.
7) Cut down your present list
You may not be alone in your urge to pinch a penny. Maybe your friends will agree to have your present to each other be not exchanging gifts this year. Don’t be afraid to ask. Or if you do decide to give gifts, set a price limit. Perhaps have a “children only” rule for those in the family who get gifts. Or even more fun, set up a Secret Santa where each family member draws a name out of the hat . Then everybody only has to buy one gift. And the giftee gets to guess who it’s from. Make sure to set a maximum price!
8) Buy designer brands at discount prices at Outlet Malls
There’s one just outside nearly every major city. Look up your local outlet option and find a day to shop. They often carry the major name brands from Victoria’s Secret to Gadzooks at a discount . As long as your family members aren’t fashionistas opposed to last season’s stock, it’s a great way to save. Am I missing any tips to save? Feel free to comment below!
License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source
Sabrina Yi lives in Ogden, Utah and is a full-time student. She specializes in lifestyle writing and budgeting tips. She frequently consults the blog of bankruptcy attorney Deluca & Associates for money-saving tips.