It’s Frugal Friday! The time when we take a few moments to focus on tips and hints for frugal living.
It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is only 14 weeks away! If you start doing a little planning now, you can have a much less stressful Christmas!
In years past, we’ve been overwhelmed in our household at Christmas time. The good news is that we have four kids who are very much loved (and a little spoiled) by the special people in their lives. Add to that their two parents who like to make Christmas special…and it looked like Toys R Us blew up at our house by December 26th. It’s excessive, and it takes away from the real meaning of the holiday.
In an effort to simplify, I came across two ideas, both of which I think are fantastic:
- Three gifts (because Baby Jesus received three gifts from the Wise Men)
- Four gifts: Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear, Something to read.
I love how both of these options simplify shopping and save money. I can focus on just a few things that they’ll really enjoy, and not feel the need to grab every impulse buy I see just because “it’s a great deal and they’ll probably like it.” Plus it cuts down on the clutter around the house, and allows the kids to focus on enjoying a few really well-thought-out gifts. Most importantly, it turns the focus away from shopping and wrapping, and back to the real reason for the season!
A few other things to consider as we think about Christmas spending from a “Frugal Friday” perspective:
- If you haven’t already started budgeting for Christmas, think about how much you usually spend, including extended family, teacher gifts, bonuses for service providers, etc. Divide that out over the next 42 weeks. Start an envelope or separate savings account, and try to stash some extra cash each week (or each pay period). See if there are a few budget areas where you might be willing to sacrifice a few dollars each month so that it won’t be such a hit come December.
- Help fund Christmas by taking advantage of rebates and other special reward offers like Swagbucks, SavingStar, Ibotta, Checkout 51, Snap, Shopmium, and more. When you cash in a rebate, try to add that money to your Christmas stash. The same goes for bonus gift card offers that we sometimes get from Target or other retailers. If we can tuck these bonuses away when we get them, they’re an easy way to pad that Christmas account.
- Keep an eye out for bargains throughout the year. If you can create your Christmas gift list now, you can take advantage of deals as they pop up. We try to post a few rock-bottom Amazon deals each day, along with tipping you off to coupons and deals on toys and gifts when they are available. If you spread out your shopping, you can get these deals when they’re available, and also spread out the burden of the cost. (Just remember who the gifts are for and where you hide them!) You can also do some pre-season Pinterest hunting to look for some cute homemade gift ideas. This will give you a chance to work on them before the holiday crunch hits, and keep an eye out for deals on supplies.
We’ll also bring you our weekly Countdown to Christmas series, which will be kicking off soon–it’s full of tons of ideas to help make your Christmas season frugal, low-stress, and fun. Be sure to keep an eye out!
Have you done anything creative to help take the stress out of Christmas? We’d love to hear your ideas. Please share in the comments or on Facebook!
If you’re just joining the Frugal Friday series, check out these other posts:
- Tracking Your Spending
- Creating a Budget
- Making Frugal Choices
- Fighting Spending Envy
- Could You Cut the Cable?
- Saving on Food Expenses
- Schedule to Save (keeping track of due dates to avoid fees & penalties)
- Staying Organized with Holiday Shopping & Rebates
- Frugal Lovin’ (Love & money, plus date night on a Shoestring Budget)
- Waste Not, Want Not (buying what you’ll use, and using what you buy)
- Frugal Fashion
- Frugal Beauty
- Frugal Cooking tip: Prep Once, Eat Twice!
- Budget Check-Up
- Creating an Emergency Fund
- Getting by on a Single Income
- Reducing Fixed Expenses
- Free Printable Frugal Living Resources (meal planners, expense trackers, and more!)
- Saving on Gasoline
- Tips for Tax Time
- Healthy Eating on a Budget
- Frugal Living with Kids
- Frugal Fitness
- Save with Second-Hand
Megan has been frugal most of her life, but has been really honing her frugal skills as the chief home economist for her family of six, surviving and thriving on a single (teacher’s!) income. If she can do it, you can too!