For the first time ever I'm dedicating a post! I dedicate this post to my dear friends Karen Preston and Mary Angela Larmer. One of whom finds Holiday organizing and planning much more fun than the other. xxx
My favorite Holiday is just around the corner.....
Thats right friends! Only a couple of more weeks until we hear all the "Jingle Bells" music in every store, advertising for every imaginable type of toy there is and a seemingly unending todo list for you to knock off before the big event arrives.
To combat this kind of overwhelming image I've just painted for you, (are you having a small panic attack yet?) I thought I would share my top 3 favorite ways to save money over the Christmas season. Because hey, everybody likes saving money right. Throw in the movie "Elf" and you're laughing.
1) Nix the shiny foil wrapping paper and gift tags.
"What? But Lauren that's, like, one of the funnest parts of Christmas! All the sparkly wrapping paper and bows!!"
And I agree with you! I have some left over wrapping paper from last year that I will be using up this year for a couple of gifts. But, when that's finished I will be wrapping all our presents in brown paper packaging. Why? Setting aside the fact that a lot of wrapping paper can't be recycled and is just hanging out in landfills, have you checked out the price of wrapping paper recently? Cast your mind back to last year when you were picking up wrapping paper. Do you remember thing "Holy, mother.... $5.99 for a small roll? For reals?" Yes. That was for reals and the prices keep going up. Know how much you can get for $24.99? a 30" by 2400" 200 foot long recycled brown paper packaging. How many presents are you going to wrap with that? Seriously thats huge. Like... a gazillion presents.
But you may be saying "But it's going to look so boring next to a sparkly tree!" Oh my gosh, no no it won't. There are so many amazing things you can do with brown packages!! Here are 5 ways to decorate:
- Have your child draw or paint all over the brown paper for a customized artwork effect. Use the colors of the season and then your done! Or YOU draw or paint all over the paper! Huge stress reliever and you get to tap into your creative side.
- Use twine! Twine, raffia and burlap are three beautiful finishing touches to add to your packages.
- Use washi tape to add some creative artwork to a package.
- Bring nature in - Go outside, find some pine cones and hot glue them on the package next to the tag. Staying with the nature theme you could use twigs, leaves etc to create beautiful custom artwork that only requires your backyard and a glue gun.
- Paint or draw a large bow using sharpies or acrylic paint.
- Find beautiful ribbons and tie an elaborate bow
Next on the chopping block are gift tags. I'm going to share a secret that companies don't want you to know... are you ready...... psst...you don't need to buy gift tags. You can download them and print them at your home, for no cost. I've found several that I use and absolutely adore:
2) Set a Budget
You've probably heard this piece of advice from all corners of the interweb and I'm going to be telling you the same thing. Set a REALISTIC budget and stick to it. Sit down with a pen, paper, coffee (or vodka depending on what time it is) and look at your bank statements to see how much you spent last year. The odds are you're probably going to spend about the same with maybe a few adjustments. Now, look at that number and think "Do I REALLY need to spend this much money on people?". Can you set a budget per person so you don't go overboard? Does little Suzy Snowflake need yet another massive toy that she will lose interest in almost immediately? Can you take that money and allocate it elsewhere? A little bit of planning and knowing your finances are going to save you a huge amount of money over this festive season and allow you to enjoy it! It will also allow you to enjoy the New Year as your credit card bills won't terrify you.
Remember as you set your Holiday budget, also look at the experiences you're going to want to have for yourself or with your family. We have a tradition now that we see the same ballet rendition of the Nutcracker each year by the same ballet company. I know when I need to purchase tickets, exactly how much its going to cost us and can easily plan and budget for it. We also plan on skating, driving to find snow for Amelia and some evenings with friends. All of this needs to be planned and anticipated (psst! This would be a great sinking fund!)
3) The Rule of 4
This will be the second year my family is participating in the "4 gifts" rule! Each person recieves 4 gits total (my Husband and I split which gifts we will get for Amelia!) The rules go as follows:
- Something to wear
- Something to read
- Something you'd like
- Something you need
We also have stockings that will cost about $20.00 each. In the stockings I usually place consumables (chocolate, candy etc) for my Husband and I, and small toys to add to Amelia's travel bag in her stocking. Implementing this gift giving strategy is literally saving us hundreds of dollars a year, allowing us to take pleasure in the experiences around us instead of just gifts and keeping the holiday season in perspective. We still send gifts to family, usually one gift for each person however those gifts are usually very small and planned for several months in advance. Most of our family members usually ask for books, and since everyone is so scattered around the world it becomes much easier to order from the bookdepository.com and have them delivered directly to them.
These are just 3 ways you can save money during the busy holiday season, but there are so many more ways to save! What are some of your tips to save money over the Holiday season? Share bellow and on social I would love to know!
Singing "Jingle Bells",