17+ Frugal Ways To Fund Your Holidays
The holidays are coming, thank goodness! But that doesn’t mean you have to go broke just to enjoy it with your loved ones. Here are 17+ frugal ways to fund your holidays and still enjoy the egg nog too!
As a kid, I used to care about the latest trends and styles. However, the older I get, I am realizing that these things just don’t matter to me nor do they bring me joy anymore like they used to. I guess you can call it, maturity, maybe? maybe not? who knows.🤷🏻♀️ After several married years of holiday prepping under my belt, I can confidently say now that if there is something I have an eye on, I’m gonna wait for a sale on that item or choose to just go without it for a little while longer (delayed gratification).
1- Buy things on clearance:
This is my favorite way to shop, bar none. I have a general rule of never paying full-price for anything, like EVER! I am cheap, there I said it! There is no good reason to ever pay full price for anything and you shouldn’t either. Now, I get there are exceptions to every rule, but you can almost always find a deal for those items after the season is over. For example, I can usually find everything I need for my family during the Day After Christmas Sale or during the month of January, which brings me to my next point in #2.
2- Buy bigger sizes at end of holiday clearance:
If you really want to save big, wait until the end of the holiday season (the week after Christmas & January) and save them for the next upcoming holiday, event, or occasion. That way, you’ll be ready, and not only ate you saving money but you’re saving time from having to replace an outgrown piece of clothing or pair of expensive shoes. Just buy them a couple of sizes bigger for your kids to grow into them next year. This trick helped save us a lot of money during my kiddos’ first 5 years of life when it seemed like they were outgrowing their clothes every time I blinked! Trust me, your future self will thank you for it, I know I did! 👌
3- Buy things in bulk:
Did you happen to catch an amazing deal on those rare limited-edition cookies that you know they’ll absolutely love? Be sure to load up on them if they are a consumable gift and give them as special stocking stuffers. Tip: if they come in different colors, be sure to save them for the next appropriate holiday (like metallic colors for New Year, red & pink for Valentine’s Day, pastel colors for Easter, etc.) without having to spend any extra on “themed items” from those very expensive party stores!
4- Sell the things you don’t need/want:
Ugh! 🤦🏻♀️ So when you happen to let it slip that you love unicorns that 1 time in passing, every member of your extended family decided that unicorns are “so you” and decided to gift you with a village of unicorns every time they see you. Oh, what to do? Suddenly your love for unicorns took a nosedive and you can’t stand the sight of them any longer than you used to. So you decide to sell them off to get money back or donate them and take the tax credit instead. Otherwise, you & I both know that it’s just going to end up sitting in your basement storage area collecting dust anyway. There there, it’s ok, the unicorns are in a better place now, don’t you worry. 😉
5-Swap/Trade the things you don’t want/need anymore:
Regift Regift Regift! No one has to know, especially if they are not in your immediate circle of family or friends, that is. 😳 🤭 Still not sure? Give it to your neighbors, unless you happen to be friends, then regift it to a lucky family and write in “Anonymous” in the From so they cannot trace it back to you. (See, told you I’m really a ninja. 😉)
6- DIY/Make your own handmade creations:
Crafts, food, food crafts, home decor, trinkets & jewelry. If you happen to be blessed with a keen eye for art & design, give them a gift of your very own piece de resistance. Your lucky recipient is going to love it because it’s like you are giving them a piece of you! ❤️ And speaking of giving them a piece of you, that brings me to my next point in #7.
7- What’s your hobby?
Show what you know & teach them what you love doing or what comes naturally to you. You can even send your loved ones a video tutorial walking them through how to do something that only you can do. It will be like you’re actually there showing your Mom how to do Zumba so she can actually watch it whenever it is convenient for her. Instead of her calling you in the middle of your workday because she is now retired. But clearly, you are not.
8- Barter & Trade:
Do you have a secret identity? By that, I mean, by day, you work in an office setting. But you also moonlight as a graphics designer to earn a side hustle income in order to pay off your student loan debt. Consider providing some consulting services like a coaching or tutoring job in lieu of a monetary payment in exchange for something that you need too. For example, you agree to tutor Richy McRich’s kid for a couple of weeks in exchange for his awesome DJ skills at your next soiree (this was obviously pre-covid days but you get the idea).
9- Make it a game/challenge:
Cutthroat Xmas. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go broke to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones. Remember the meaning of the season? Keep it light in your spirit and heavy in your wallet by buying just 1 gift and steal it in a game of cutthroat Christmas where you have to pay to play, (just like the lottery). Think of it like a game of musical chairs but with unwrapped gifts from each game player. There will be winners and losers with guaranteed fun for all! And that is what really matters.
10- Divide & Conquer:
This works best in an office holiday party so that everyone is included in the fun. Assign each participant a job and or item that they are responsible for bringing so that you don’t end up footing the entire bill by yourself. See steps 13 and step 15. Set a predetermined amount for Secret Santa like under $20 per couple or 1-1 partner exchange.
11- Don’t be a brand snob:
Sometimes generic or store brands are even better than the name brand items. Don’t believe me? Check out the Kirkland brand gifts like mixed holiday nuts from Costco, or the Kroger’s brand: Private Selection Label Premium Goods, or Aldi’s store brand: Winking Owl Wine Selection. For just under $4 per bottle, you won’t miss paying $30 for wine ever again! 😃
12- Be open to buying refurbished:
Check out the refurbished electronics from stores like Best Buy, Amazon, Micro Center to save some cash on normally expensive gifts. Sometimes these are returned due to: customers who changed their minds, bought the wrong color, different model generation, or just not what they expected. It does not mean that the product is damaged, only that the box has been open but product inside is still new, intact, & able to be re-shelved. If the store has a good return policy, there’s absolutely no reason not to save yourself a few bucks on these “refurbished items.” Instead of shelling out extra money for an unopened box of the same but equally good condition product, think of it as not having to pay for the extra packaging which you don’t need anyway.
13- Consider a gift exchange/secret Santa to save money on huge gatherings:
If you’re in a money crunch situation, be open & honest about it and encourage your loved ones to curb the need for consumption this year with just 1 meaningful, practical and/or affordable gift. If you’re lucky enough to have friends and family who can understand and appreciate you for suggesting it, by all means, go for it. There is no good reason not to celebrate while still keeping an eye on your bottom line. That is something that all of us can truly appreciate, especially this year!
14- Pick a theme, a color, a team, etc.:
This is meant to be more fun just use what you already have on-hand instead of spending extra. To take the Secret Santa thing a step further, you can throw in a theme, like having everyone wear an ugly sweater (like we did one year) just to make it a little more creative and different without blowing the bank. All you need is an old sweater, some hot glue, & knick-knacks lying around the house, and oai la, you’re done!
15- Set a budget:
This is probably a pretty obvious one. It may sound simple in theory but not so simple in practice. Just ask yourself, how much money am I willing to lose out on in order to have a good time? Your answer may surprise you. But what’s important is that you give yourself an honest answer. For example, if you set aside a total budget of $100 to spend on everything this holiday season. Then you will need to prioritize what is really more important to spend that hard-earned $100. Suddenly those Apple Ear pods seem out of reach, but maybe consider the cheaper unknown alternative brands that are more in-lined with your $30 budget at this point in time. The good news is that they will go on sale at some point in the future and by that time, you’ll have saved up enough money to buy them!
16- Be the guest not the host:
If you love playing, “the hostess with the most-est”, this might be a little hard for you to swallow. But it will be worth it to you to fatten up your wallet when all is said and done. Keep it fair and pass the baton to someone else this year. After all, you deserve a break for all of your work hosting the holidays in previous years. Don’t you think? Since we’re all quarantined anyway, consider hosting your party virtually for free or cheaper than you’d normally would anyway. Your loved ones would rather see you no matter what medium or platform you decide to celebrate with them.
17-But if you do host, consider sales & loss leaders:
If you’re practicing social distancing or hosting only your immediate family, try shopping the sales ads and the front page deals. These are used by grocery stores to entice people to come in and spend money with them. If you keep your party small and shop the front page deals, this really should help you stay within your budget. Try placing your order ahead early in the week and have it delivered contact-free or pick it up curbside contact-free too.
18- Shop sales & seasonal items first:
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in the tropics year-round and you’re able to get your grubby little hands on some tropical fruit 😍 (so jealous), seasonal items are the way to go to really save some dough for the holidays. If you have a local Aldi check out their produce selection like pomegranates, oranges, bananas, pumpkins, & apples. You can incorporate them into a fresh fruit platter, make a frugal centerpiece display, or cut them up and freeze them for smoothies & baked fruit desserts for later, see #19 below.
19- Don’t forget warehouses & specialty shops:
Don’t feel like cooking but love baked goods? Who doesn’t love baked goods? Especially if you live near the outlet bakery that offers them in bulk and at a great discount! Consider getting some of these for 50-75% off the retail price and serve them during your holiday party instead of serving expensive desserts and baked goods. Tip: brush the top with water and add red & green sprinkles for a festive and yet thrifty touch!
20- Consider shopping from your local discount retailers:
You can still look chic without blowing your budget. Don’t believe me? Then check out your local TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Ross’, Burlington, Marc’s Discount Stores, Ollie’s Outlets, Gabe’s, Five Below, Dollar Tree, & Dollar General, just to name a few. I bet your guests won’t be able to tell the difference. They won’t know that you got that Cashmere sweater for 1/5th of the price that your fancy cousin paid for her designer hair cut, color & blow out.
So, to recap, here are the 17+ frugal ways to fund your holidays:
1- Buy things on clearance.
2- Buy bigger sizes at end of holiday clearance.
3- Buy things in bulk.
4-Sell the things you don’t need/want.
5- Swap/Trade the things you don’t want/need anymore.
6- DIY/Make your own handmade creations.
7- What’s your hobby?
8- Barter & Trade.
9- Make it a game/challenge.
10- Divide & Conquer.
11- Don’t be a brand snob.
12- Be open to buying refurbished.
13- Consider a gift exchange/secret Santa.
14- Pick a theme, a color, a team, etc.
15- Set a budget.
16- Be the guest not the host.
17-But if you do host, consider sales & loss leaders.
18- Shop sales & seasonal items first.
19- Don’t forget warehouses & specialty shops.
20- Consider shopping from your local discount retailers.
And there you have it, more than 17 frugal ways to fund your holidays. You can don’t have to be a scrooge or pretend to live it up large to have a meaningful and lovely holiday with your friends and family. You just gotta get creative and be intentional with your hard-earned moolah. After all, it’s the presence, not the presents that matter, even if it’s going to be virtually this year.
Want to really reign in your hard-earned cash this holiday season and avoid blowing it all during the holidays?
Be sure to grab your free copy of The Holiday Budget Worksheet so can keep track of every cent and every dollar.
Need all the help you can get? Grab my 2020 Holiday Planner this year to make sure your virtual holiday festivities go off without a hitch!