The Christmas season is just around the corner. After the chaos of Thanksgiving, when we all get a little rounder and thoughts of “I can’t wait to see my family” turn into quips of “well, at least I still like my friends”, the spending begins and the biggest commercial day of the year starts its countdown.
For many, Christmas is a day to fear. They worry that they won’t be able to provide their children with a proper Christmas because they don’t have the money. They worry what will happen to them after the holidays when they spend all they have on creating a day to remember. But Christmas doesn’t have to be a big spending extravaganza. There are ways to cut your seasonal spend. Even Kohl’s Black Friday Deals are making a bunch of noise.
Christmas Trees and Decoration
First things first, don’t buy new decorations every year. It may be a pain to have to dig out the box of lights every year, but it will also save you a fortune. Lights, decorations and even artificial trees can be reused year after year. You can pay upwards of $200 for a complete set of Christmas decorations, which means that over the course of 20 years you could be saving $4,000 just by reusing what you have.
If you want the perfect tree and insist on the real deal, then there are a few tips. The first is to buy early or late, as you can usually save in both cases. The second is to buy something a little less than perfect–you can always spruce it up yourself. Really though, you should consider buying an artificial tree as it can save you so much.
Brave the Sales
Black Friday is there for a reason and it really is worth braving the sales in order to stock-up for Christmas. Not only can you buy all of the presents you need, but you can also stock up on food and drink.
The best way to save big for Christmas while still making sure you have everything you want is to put all of your budgets into Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday. Collect coupons and buy big. Don’t buy more than you will need unless you’re paying very little. Coupons can also help you to prepare for the season months in advance.
Not only is Cyber Monday the next best thing to Black Friday, but you can save a small fortune by shopping online in general. The high street gets a lot of business around the Christmas season because we’re all worried that our packages won’t be delivered in time. But this is 2017–the 6 to 8 week wait is no longer applicable and most deliveries are made in days.
This is especially true of Amazon. Amazon is the world’s biggest online retailer for a reason. It can beat the high street in every area, so don’t forget to check out its seasonal deals.
If you have managed to secure a deal on a box load of tinned food for just a few cents thanks to a bag full of coupons, great. What you don’t eat you can give to a food bank and everyone wins. But if you’re spending out of your own pocket then you should avoid buying too much.
We all buy more food than we need for Christmas. Every time the public gets a whiff of the shop closing for a day or two they stock up like the apocalypse is coming, and more than half of what they buy ends up getting wasted. We do it year after year and yet we still don’t learn. So, be more realistic and don’t buy more than you will need when real money is being spent.
Save on Transport
Once you factor in all of the time spent in traffic jams and taxis that charge you twice as much just because it’s Christmas, the amount you are spending on travel soon mounts up. What’s more, Christmas is one of the most dangerous days of the year to be on the road. It’s great if you are a DWI lawyer as there is no shortage of business, but there are more drink drivers, more tired and eager drivers, more dangerous roads–it’s the perfect storm.
We rarely factor travel into the equation when we’re calculating living costs when we’re thinking about seeing friends and family or even when we’re thinking about a short vacation. But if you add up those taxi fares for late night parties and those fuel costs for the hours you spend on the road, you could be looking at hundreds of dollars.
So, stay safe and save money. Throw a little party of your own.
Car pool. See if you can walk or take public transport. And always factor those costs into your weekly budget to see how much you really and and how much you can save.