This article was contributed by Nina Bernice. All contents are for information purposes only and must not be substituted for any professional advice.
Saving money during Christmas time can be difficult. While the average American family will probably spend around $600 on gifts this year, there are many other expenses involved with the holiday, such as travel, food, and decorations. In addition to this, there are also a number of other smaller expenses, and potentially the lost wages from taking time off during the holiday.
Fortunately, there are several ways to save money during this season. Start by carefully reviewing the list of people you buy presents for. Consider who can be removed from the list, and who can receive a smaller gift this year. Instead of buying presents, consider making a small gift such as cookies or homemade bath salts. There are hundreds of recipes and directions for homemade gifts available on the internet.
Carefully look through the Christmas decorations you already have on hand, and make a list of what else is really needed. Then, consider what can be used or made from items around the house. Just like gifts, there are hundreds of websites offering directions on how to make Christmas decorations.
Of course, this can be a good time to look at non-holiday expenses and consider where to save money. For example, many people choose to review their insurance policies once a year and look for additional discount or cheap insurance from a different company. Cheap insurance can save several hundred dollars a year, and many insurers can provide the same or better coverage than your current insurance company.
With the extra food that many people need to buy this time of year, it may also be a good time to review the grocery budget. December is a month when many baking supplies go on sale at local supermarkets, making it a good time to stock up on pantry staples such as flour and sugar. Also look for sales on Christmas items such as beef roast and vegetables. While no store will put everything needed for a holiday meal on sale at the same time, it is possible to combine sales at different stores to save a lot on feeding a family and guests this season.
If the family will be hosting guests this season, then it is also a good idea to review utility costs. Nearly thirty percent of home utility costs are related to heating and cooling. The remaining seventy percent includes appliance usage and lighting. Having extra people in a home can raise utility costs by an average of 20% per extra person in a home. To lower these costs, make sure to have your heating system checked out and cleaned by professionals so that it will run more efficiently. Also be sure to conserve heat by improving weather sealing around doors, windows, and appliances.
Saving money around the holidays doesn’t mean that Christmas has to be less fun or festive. In fact, many people who spend less during this time say that they are able to focus on their family more, making the holiday much more meaningful than it was when they spent more money.
Image by yvestown