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Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. There are parties, presents, cookies, family, good cheer and, if we’re lucky, a few glistening snowflakes. The only downside to all that fun is that it all generally costs money. You know how it goes. All of the sudden, it’s Jan. 1, and you’re up a pants size and down way too much cash. It can be tempting to overspend during the holidays. After all, you’re swept up in the spirit of the season and want to spoil your loved ones, not to mention have a little fun yourself. But having a magical Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out these six savvy tips and tricks to learn how to jingle all the way without burning a hole in your wallet.
1. Reuse, Repurpose And Resell
You haven’t cleaned out your house since last spring. Do you really know what’s lurking in your closets and the basement? Those shoes you never wore because they were too tight once you walked in them around the house? Sell them on eBay or the Facebook marketplace for extra cash toward gifts and stocking stuffers. That extra set of wineglasses you registered for but never use? Put your crafty side to work and hand paint custom wineglasses for your friends like these from Sweet Kimplicity. Turn old drapery or tablecloths into doll clothes for the kids with these tips from Doll It Up.
2. Catch Last-Minute Deals
Waiting until Christmas Eve to do your shopping sounds like a recipe for disaster, but you can also snag some amazing sale items. Amazon’s year-end sales start on Dec. 23 this year, so if you use Prime shipping, you can even snag some items in time for Christmas Day! Another option is to skip the Christmas-Day rush, and exchange gifts on another day instead to take advantage of the after-Christmas sales. After all, Dec. 25 is just a date on the calendar. Waking up to presents on a random, cold January morning sounds pretty good.
3. Skip The Traditional Tree
Fresh trees can be expensive, not to mention a mess, and artificial trees aren’t exactly easy on the wallet, either. Throw in ornaments, and you’ve blown your budget before Christmas Day even arrives. Instead, try some of these homemade decorations like a rag wreath, a cupcake liner Christmas tree or a string Christmas tree.
4. Trim Your Food Budget
If you’re entertaining this Christmas, you may think there’s no way out of spending a ton of cash to feed a crowd. Raiding your cupboards, adjusting the size of your bird and making your own appetizers can all shrink your spending. Check out this complete list of Christmas-meal budget tips from BBC Good Cooking.
5. Pick Up Easy Extra Work
Okay, so this one won’t save you money as much as it will make you money, but they both achieve the same goal: having more Christmas fun for less dough. Consider picking up a seasonal gig like selling Christmas trees or working at one of the many retail shops looking for extra help for the holidays. Or, don’t leave your couch at all, and check out one of these awesome work-from-home jobs.
6. Make, Don’t Buy, Your Presents
There are endless options here. Check out these adorable homemade mason jar gifts. Maybe you’re not crafty, but you love to cook. Consider making your own bread, soup or cookie mix in a jar. If cooking and crafting both aren’t your thing, think coupons for services—babysitting your sister’s kids or a get-out-of-jail-free card for mowing the lawn for your husband to cash in this coming spring.