As the weather continues to get cooler (in most of the country, at least), it only means one thing: Christmas is coming!
Before we know it, it’ll be time to buy presents, host (or attend) parties, decorate our houses, you name it.
All that costs a lot of money, though, right? So, how can we save and spend less in the meantime? Here are a few ways, so by the time the holidays arrive, you should only be stressed out about what kind of cookies to bake, not how much money you have (or don’t).
1. Eat At Home
That’s right, it’s a simple solution, but not one that everyone takes it to heart. A study by the Commerce Department reported that Americans spend more money on dining out than they do on groceries —and, as we all know, we can make way more meals from our grocery shopping loot than one meal out.
After all, winter is the PERFECT time to stay warm inside and throw things into your Crock-Pot. Easy. Plus, it’ll make your entire house smell good!
2. Weather-Proof Your House (& Self) For The Colder Temps
We talked a bit about this before, but sealing windows and getting thermal curtains can help keep you warmer—and your energy bills down.
For instance, wearing thick socks is one easy way to keep yourself from freezing in your home, which will make you less inclined to go turn up the thermostat.
3. Go To Store Sales
Holidays like Veterans Day (Nov. 11), Cyber Monday (Dec. 1), and the day after Christmas (Dec. 26) are all optimal shopping days for savings, too.
There seem to be sales all the time (Mother’s Day weekend, Father’s Day weekend, and so on), so do some investigating and you’ll be grateful come December, when you’re all done with your holiday shopping—weeks before everyone else.
4. Shop Year-Round
I learned this from my mom years ago. Instead of waiting until the last minute to shop for birthday and seasonal gifts, buy things year-round, when prices are not jacked up… and when store aisles are less crowded, too!
5. With Decorating Your Home, Buy Things That Can Be Used All Year
It’s easy to go into a store and see a pumpkin centerpiece or a turkey one… wouldn’t that look great on the dining room table? I know I’ve fallen into this trap plenty of times. Hand towels with embroidered pumpkins on them? Count me in!
As cute as they may look, is the cost cute? “If you’re going to buy something, go big on one or a few things versus a bunch of little things that don’t deliver design impact,” said Bea Pile, an HGTV award-winning designer (who also owns B. Pila Design), to U.S. News & World Report.
Hence, you can use them during more than one certain time of year. Of those holiday-specific decorations, Jennifer Weinmann, of Weinmann Home Staging in Indianapolis, agreed.
“It’s so specific to the season that you’ll be constantly swapping out your decor to stay on top of the holiday at hand,” Weinmann said. “Warm colors set the fall tone and are much easier to incorporate into your existing decor, plus they’ll last for months!”
6. Make Credit Card (And Other) Payments On Time
Nothing is worse than late fees on credit cards that we could pay on time each month, but then they slip our minds.
All the money saved on late fees can go into your Christmas shopping fund, for instance, so keep track of when all your bills are due and pay them… on time.