39 Frugal Tips For Saving Money At Christmas
By Michelle Jones

There are gazillions of ways to save money and Christmas is one of those times when we need to implement as many money-saving tips as we can, so that we can spend less and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas even more!!  Below I've listed 39 frugal ways to save money at Christmas.  You may have tried some of them already but hopefully there will be something you can take from the list and add to your 'money-saving traditions.'

Christmas Cards:

  1. Either don't send Christmas cards, or cut your list in half!
  2. Send postcards or letters, instead of Christmas cards.
  3. You can even cut your old Christmas cards from last year in half, and send the pretty side as a postcard.  I did this many years and it works great, plus you're being 'earth friendly' by keeping new cards out of the garbage dumps.
  4. If you send postcards, whether purchased or homemade, remember they require less postage than a regular card! 
  5. Christmas cards always go on sale better in December; this is one time when the early birds do not beat us!
  6. If you purchase inexpensive cards at a discount store, just look them through carefully.  Some look really cheap, while others are much prettier. If you're going to buy Christmas cards, they might as well look nice!
  7. Make a short phone call at 5 cents a minute, a 7 minute call would still cost less than a postage stamp, and your loved ones would probably much rather you're your voice than receive a card in the mail.

Wrapping Paper:

  1. Use magazine pages to wrap small gifts.
  2. The comic section of your newspaper also makes pretty paper. (I once saved them up for a few months before Christmas and had enough to make a gift out of a relative's favorite comic strip. They loved it!)
  3. Use your children's artwork, or create your own on plain paper. the large reams of packing paper are great for this, contact anyone who's in the process of moving!
  4. Save used wrapping paper all through the year, just roll them back onto the paper tube and place a small piece of scotch tape on the edge to hold in place.  These really work great for small gifts where the previously folded lines won't even show.  If the paper is the wrong theme, you could just turn it over and decorate the plain side yourself!
  5. Don't buy expensive ribbons and bows to decorate your packages, if you hunt around you can find the cheap stuff that will be just as pretty!
  6. Forget the gift tags, make your own by cutting a small piece of matching paper and folding it in half.  Write the "To and From" on the inside of the paper and tape it to the wrapped present.  This is great for scraps of paper that are too small to wrap a gift, but too large to toss away.
  7. Cut up old Christmas cards make great gift tags too!
  8. If you sew, you could even use scrap material to wrap gifts.
  9. Or inexpensive tissue paper that you've saved from other gifts throughout the year.  Then decorate the wrapped gift with little smiley faces, Christmas trees, or even just the words "Merry Christmas!" You could even add  some glitter if you have some on hand.

Decorations:

  1. Don't decorate.
  2. Don't decorate with expensive things!!!
  3. The stores have incredible sales every year for decorations, buy close to the holiday or even better, after the holiday!  You could fill your house with beautiful holiday decorations every year (if you wanted to), for a small  fraction of what they originally cost!
  4. Save your children's (or grandchildren's) holiday crafts and artwork from school each year, after a few years you'll have a houseful of free and beautiful decorations!  And the joy your child will feel seeing his/her artwork proudly displayed year after year is priceless.
  5. Have a warm and cozy Christmas the old-fashioned way.  Pop some popcorn and string it up all over the house! 
  6. Add some cranberries to your popcorn string for a touch of color.
  7. Decorate your house by bringing the outside in, using pinecones and acorns!  Sprinkle with a few drops of pine scented oil if you have it on hand, I know a lot of you just might!
  8. Invest in an artificial tree after Christmas - when they go on clearance!
  9. And don't try to get all your tree ornaments in one year (this one is especially true for newlyweds), it took your parents years to collect what they have. and each ornament is more special because of it.

Food:

  1. Many grocery stores are offering great deals during the holidays, some are even giving away food, or cash!  Read the paper every week for your local deals, or if you don't subscribe to the newspaper, pick up the free ad flyers at the store and take it home so you'll have time to look it over really good before shopping.
  2. Compare prices!  I like to buy whatever's on sale at one store, then a few days later when we need more milk anyways, I go to a second store and get their best deals, it's a great money-saver!
  3. Store brands are great when making casseroles and side dishes. no one will even notice!
  4. Cook your turkey in a large Reynolds cooking bag and you won't need to buy an expensive Butterball, any brand will be wonderful!
  5. Stock up while everything's on sale, just an extra can or box here and there. not a storage closet full!  If you end up with too many bargain buys, share them with your local food bank!
  6. I'm still working on the GrocerySavingTips.com site (There never seems to be enough time to post all the money saving tips I want to share with you!), but I have listed many tips already that will help you save big!!  I hope to get this sister site finished in the Spring!

Entertainment:

  1. It's wonderful to take your family to the movie theater during the Christmas holiday break, but this could also be a good time to catch up on the videos that have come out for rental during the holiday season.
  2. Another great frugal way to entertain the family through the holidays is to take a drive around your town, or another one nearby, to see the Christmas lights!  It's a family tradition of ours to do this on Christmas Eve, we look forward to it every year, and it's free!
  3. Get out the board games, the kids will love spending time with you.  If you don't have many to choose from, maybe you can borrow a new game from a friend or neighbor.  You never know, they might have a closet full they never even use!
  4. Playing cards is always fun too, even when the kids are little you can play Go Fish. we're making memories here.
  5. Sing, sing, sing!  Many churches and groups even have caroling get-togethers in December, what fun! 
  6. Sit around a warm fire, or cozy up in the living room with blankets and hot cocoa, and tell family stories. or have everyone take turns saying how they have been blessed throughout the year - like we do at Thanksgiving. Being thankful shouldn't end on Turkey Day, keep the spirit going! 
  7. Have a family gathering to decorate the tree, wrap gifts, or bake cookies!  Don't forget our wonderful cookie site at CookieClubRecipes.com, we'd love to have you join us!!!  (Baking is my favorite hobby, so I started the club just for fun!!)
  8. Read a Christmas book together as a family.  Or, decide on a story and have everyone contribute a chapter and create a new Christmas book... it could even be about your own family!

Have a blessed  Christmas!!!

Copyright 2003 by Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones is the editor of BetterBudgeting.com, and The Money-Saving Tips Ezine.  To get more frugal tips for saving money or a free subscription to the Ezine, please visit http://www.betterbudgeting.com/subscribe.htm 

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