Monday, November 14, 2011

10 Tips for Saving Money During the Holidays

"I'll be green for Christmas..."

Well, Hell-oween is over, and as soon as the “holiday” was over, the stores quickly shifted their products and put the helloween stuff on clearance and made room for Christmas items!

I don’t know about you, but when I looked around at the stores this week and noticed all the Christmas decoration, products, and gifts, I thought to myself, This is amazing!  There’s hardly a mention of Thanksgiving; these people go right from Halloween to Christmas!  That makes the Christmas season two months long!!

Yes, that’s right, folks…two months long!  That’s an incredibly long holiday season! 
That means that we may be in the stores, see the decorations, hear the music, and want to buy something because, after all, “it’s the Holidays!”  Then, as Christmas get closer, we feel that we have to buy something, because it’s Christmas!  So, in reality, we may be spending twice as much money as we normally would!

And I think the merchants really like that.

However, most of us don’t have as much money as the sand of the seashore, so we need to be careful about our expenses.  Of course, being good stewards of what God has given us requires of to be careful.

So how can you save some money this Holiday season?  Well, I’ll tell you some of the things I do.

1.       Remember that the Holidays are not about money, but about celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus.  His wonderful gift to us is what we appreciate, and we give to others because we have been so freely given to.  So, really, it’s ok not to spend yourself into oblivion and put yourself into debt until March; give out of what you have, not what you don’t have.  And enjoy the Lord and your family.

2.      Keep in mind that moderation is best in all these areas.  Just as it’s not good to indulge your taste buds constantly, you don’t need to go hog-wild over décor.  Use what you have.

3.      Thrift stores are GREAT places for decorations!  My daughter Kathryn is a professional thrift store shopper (not really, but it sounds good!), and she is also a tremendous decorator.  She tells me that she gets all her décor – I mean ALL – at her local thrift stores.  There’s a certain joy when you find something nice for an excellent price.

4.       Be moderate with baking.  Remember there will be a ton of sweets during this time of year; you don’t need to add to it by making another ton.  Enjoy Thanksgiving pies and cookies, and Christmas candy, but do not enjoy them for the next two months, or you will wear them!

5.       Plan carefully before you buy your presents.  Taking a little bit of time every day to think about what to get for who may save you a LOT of money.

6.      Shop around!   Once you decide what to get for who, look for a good buy on that item.  Stores make the most money on impulse buys; don’t let it be money out of your pocket.

7.       Shop online, either on EbayCraigslist, or Amazon.  You can avoid almost all impulse buys by simply not going into the store!  

8.      Save money on postage by using drop-shipping.  I have learned that many companies will wrap items for you and send them directly to your recipient, keeping you from having to pay postage twice!  Postage can be a major killer if you have family you like to send things to, like me!  Also, since storage space for presents is an issue, I like to have things sent directly.  It has saved me a lot of hassle in my Holidays!

9.       Visit some thrifty sites, like Money Saving Mom, or Living on a Dime.  These places can save you boodles of money by giving you a heads-up on great sales and posting useful coupons, etc.  Even when it’s not a Holiday, these sites are very helpful!

10.   Make your own home into a Holiday Haven.  A few candles, soft music, and clear counters go a long way to making your place a Happy Holiday House, if not a hint of Holiday Heaven!  Not only will you and your family enjoy the holidays more by enjoying your own home more, it can also save you money - you can curb the itch to run around if your home is happy and pleasant.  

Enjoy your Holidays, dear ones, and keep the debt monster out of your purse!

Rolling on toward Jesus’ birthday… 

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