Frugal Living Tips this Christmas Season
It’s no secret that it is getting to be that time of year… Christmas is coming soon! As a person who lives a frugal lifestyle, it is hard to get excited about events that inevitably make me step outside of my financial comfort zone. While it is a lovely thought to believe that you can be immune to the inevitable push to spend money during the holidays, it is impossible in this day and age did not find yourself pulling out a credit card at every turn. Looking realistically the holidays you must prepare yourself for two things: 1) You WILL spend more money than you should, and 2) You may think you are prepared, but you are not. So taking those things into account, what can you do to truly be ready for Christmas while living a frugal lifestyle? Here are my tips for you:
1) Get to know who you are giving gifts for. One of the easiest ways to overspend on a gift from is to either give a gift card, or continue to add to a present because you don’t feel it is good enough. One of the areas that I find hardest to buy for every year is your family. Especially your parents and siblings. You have been buying gifts for them your entire life and you probably run out of ideas. Try taking a step back and think about who they really are. Think about some of the little things that they like. Has your mom always dreamed of going to Paris? Is your sister a big Disney fan? What about your dad? Get creative with your thinking. One of my favorite places to look for unique personalized gifts is ETSY. Maybe you get mom individual photos of letters that spell out “F-A-M-I-L-Y” and frame each letter? Even better, maybe you get your camera out and take those pictures yourself? I’m sure there are plenty of signs around that have different fonts that could be used! And the sister who loves Disney? Have you checked eBay lately to see if you can find any fun vintage Disney memorabilia on there? Guaranteed she doesn’t have it already and she’ll love it! You don’t have to break the bank to get her something fun and unique that speaks to her personally. What about dad? Does he love to read? Maybe a couple magazines subscriptions would be a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year for him.
The flip side is also true, buy generic gifts throughout the year as you find them on clearance. Most of my non-perishable stocking stuffers were bought the year before on after-Christmas clearance. I also keep a well stocked gift closet that is almost always full of items purchased throughout the year at 70% off or more. That way no matter who springs a gift or party invite on me, I will not have to break the bank to give a gift.
Finally one of the biggest changes in our household after we had kids was instituting this giftgiving criteria: NEED it, WANT it, WEAR it, READ it. Each of us asks for one gift in each of the categories. The kids often ask for several in each category, but only receive one gift per category. Not only does it create a way to talk about conscious consumerism with your kids, it makes each gift special and appreciated. Part of living a frugal lifestyle is learning not to spend money outside of your means, but the other side of that is knowing that some things are more important than money. Is having another toy (or 10 more toys) more important than having Mom and Dad be able to watch you play baseball or be home for dinner? Is it more important to spend family money on more than you need to get more than you want when the money could be spent on those who don’t have the things they need? It is hard for kids to understand the bigger picture because their worlds are smaller, but getting them to view money in a smarter more conscious way at a young age is one of the best gifts you can give them.
The matter how you choose to spend your money during the holidays, making frugal money decisions will always come from a place of thought and planning. Avoid spending at sales for just the sake of getting great deals. While I am all for getting a great deal, it is very tempting to buy things that you do not truly need just because you’re getting a good deal. Also, try to avoid using credit cards if it all possible. There are clever ways to use credit cards to achieve better financial results, but during the holidays commonsense to it seems to take a backseat to consumerism. Think before you spend! At the end of the day, it is better to focus on the things that are most important at the holidays. When it comes to giving gifts, a plate of warm cookies and a up of coffee shared with a friend can be just as wonderful as anything you find on Black Friday.
Read part 1 of Angie’s Living on $30,000 Best Frugal Tips on Thriving and (not just surviving) on $30,000 a year!
Part 2 – Basic Home Budgeting
Part 4 – How to Not Spend Money
Part 6 – Money Management Skill
Part 7 – Why Couples Should Talk About Money?
I am a stay at home mom and happily married to my husband Tom. I have a five year old daughter and a two and a half year old son. I grew up in Orlando, but went to school in New York City and lived in Los Angeles before moving home to raise a family. I have worked in the film industry since the early nineties, and for over a decade with the Florida Film Festival. I also spent many years working in marketing with Glaceau and Honest Tea. But, I am happiest at home building my family.
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