If you are searching for frugal ways to save money during Christmas, this is for you. I don’t know what your idea of frugal is, but I know plenty of people read the headline Frugal on Pinterest and think along the lines of bare bones. Minimal. Downer during the holidays.
Like the woman who commented if I was so frugal, why don’t I raise all my own food so I don’t need to go to the grocery store?
No, that’s not frugal. That’s Alaska the Last Frontier mode.
Frugal is when you are conscious about every step you are taking. How you can save money, do things more efficient. Live a little more simply, yes. Frugal isn’t going to look exactly the same on you as it does me. We are all different.
So if you are sick of reading all the ways you should be living a frugal Christmas, or how to basically give ZERO gifts for Christmas to save, this is the post for you.
This post will get you thinking about true frugal ways you can save this Christmas, but really for next Christmas and all the holidays that will follow.
Instead of celebrating Small- Celebrate Big BUT FREE
Don’t diminish that you can’t attend holiday gatherings or parties. During the months of November and December there are free events all over, no matter where you live. Even if the event is free and it’s a 30 minute drive the gas you spend to get there is minimal. It’s a frugal choice.
Make a plan to go to an event that is FREE every weekend. Look realistically at your budget for the month. If you aren’t budgeting that’s probably the biggest reason you are searching for ways to save money at Christmas.
You need to know how much money you have, and where it all has to go. What you have left is what you have left. You can’t pretend there’s more, it is what it is. For budgeting tips go here.
If your budget is tight and you can only afford hot chocolate at an event for the kids, so be it. If you can’t afford any extras at the event, so be it. Let the kids know ahead of time. Take in the lights, the festivities etc.
You will see all the memes about giving gift experiences instead of gifts, and this is a great one. They will remember where you went and they will remember if you were smiling.
Yep, the holidays seem to create a mass chaos in our American society. Perhaps we try to do to much? Elf on the shelf, the Santa visits, the lists, the gifts, etc. But if while you are going through it all, smile.
Think about what makes you truly smile and keep doing that next year. If you are doing something during the holidays that doesn’t bring you joy, Marie Kondo that event. You don’t need it.
What is the worst that will happen? You’ll smile perhaps? I know my kids respond in a positive way when I’m smiling. Even if they are telling me a story and I can’t full look or engage, if I smile, I know they smile. We can all do a little more smiling at one another.
If your love language is gifts by all means give gifts. Today our options to make free and cheap gifts is endless. And how can we complain? In a matter of two seconds we can see all the ideas galore on Pinterest or Google.
We have so much to be thankful for. Ideally you should budget for gifts this time of year ahead of time, but if you are new to a budget, then you will need to get creative. You could write a note of all the things you adore about that person and tell them you will take them out to coffee or spend time with them.
The truth is, if it is someone who is important to us in our life we can all agree spending more quality time with that person is more important than any DIY homemade mix right?! ( Not that there is anything wrong with those, you see my point?)
If you are giving gifts for all your aunts, uncles, brothers and sister’s kids and the list is never ending, you may need to have a good conversation and see if this is something everyone still wants to do. If it is hurting the bank account, it’s time to talk about it. Suggest a gift exchange, or only buying for the kids. Or giving the gift of experience.
You may find out that your sister was waiting for some else to suggest a new tradition.
Offer your Service
Acts of service, it is a love language for many of us. We all have unique talents and we all have things we enjoy doing that others don’t. I hate folding laundry and I’m not good at it.
My husband doesn’t mind doing it but he’s amazing at it. Even with your spouse this could be the time of year you do the things he hates. For others offer your talents.
Maybe a friend needs a night out with her husband and you can watch the kids? Gosh, I don’t think a night of free babysitting will ever go unloved by anyone.
Maybe you are a baker and can agree to bring a homemade treat to a neighbor once a week, twice a month etc. Think beyond what marketing of the holidays tells us and go deeper. How can you serve that person instead of spending money on them?
If re-gifting causes you way too much thinking, don’t do it. It’s perfectly fine to do, but for some of us, it causes more anxious thoughts then if we didn’t try to give a gift to begin with. Of course there are items that are perfectly fin to re-gift. Some of us have way to many hand lotions from Avon, because our Grandma loves to buy them. That’s one thing, but if you are the person who constantly sees regifting and you hate doing, it don’t.
Give yourself permission to take a good hard look at the why of what you always do each holiday season.
If You Must Shop- Shop Smart
If you are the type of person who loves to shop- hello Me too! Then do it smart. You probably already know what is a good deal and what is not. If you don’t the best way is to start really watching the prices of items your kids, and family members want.
You can use a website called camel camel camel to see if the price will drop on Amazon. Otherwise shop around Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. The prices are so low. Then if you must shop and missed those events right before Christmas things tend to go close to 50% off. The risk for young kids is items selling out.
And if you love giving someone something that isn’t DIY or crafty, because let’s face it not all of us enjoy doing those things, shop seasonally. This means after Christmas you go out and buy the cute Christmas coffee mug, or the box of handmade ornaments at 75% off and save for next year for a gift.
This is when you can treat yourself to something new. But you have to wait until it’s all over and use for next year. The wait is always worth the cost.
I hope these frugal ways to celebrate Christmas help you to think outside of the box and understand that frugal people can have an abundant Christmas. We can give gifts, and enjoy. If you are frugal and you have a budget for Christmas it doesn’t matter how much you spend as long as you are in your own budget.
If someone is wondering why you are spending so much on Christmas when you’re a frugal person, you can smile. Frugal doesn’t mean you don’t spend. You spend wisely. The end goal is about living within in our means. When you know how to do that, you are one step closer to financial freedom.