Finance

Six Ways to be Frugal and Festive

Stretch Your Dollars so they Do More

Don Milne Nov 1, 2017

‘Tis the season when we see more red than normal. That’s great as long as the red isn’t your budget. The main holiday expense people focus on controlling is gifts, but you may not realize that your expense controls need to go beyond what you’re placing under the Christmas tree.

According to a 2017 Deloitte survey, gifts make up just one-third of holiday spending, and survey respondents said they plan to spend more on experiences and celebrations than in the past.

The last thing you want to do during the holidays is to become a Scrooge-like recluse, so a good way to participate in holiday entertaining is to find ways to stretch dollars to do more.

When you follow these tips to enjoy entertaining during December, you’ll also enjoy not being broke come January.

  • Buy Bulk Foods. It’s easier to get prepackaged food and you also pay more to get a brand you are familiar with. However, many stores have a bulk purchase isles with bins full of nuts, chocolates, and other entertaining basics that cost much less because it is generic and not prepackaged.
  • Cheap Cheers. An easy place to save on the entertainment budget is to serve water. Add some ice and cranberries or raspberries for a holiday look.
  • DIY Decorations. You can find a wealth of ideas for decorating on Pinterest and Instagram. Do-it-yourself creativity is usually cheaper and more appealing to your guests compared to what you can buy off-the-shelf at the store.
  • Free Music. If you don’t already have a subscription to commercial free music streaming, you can grab some classic Christmas CDs from your attic to create the background ambiance for your party. If you don’t have any Christmas CDs, you can check some out from the library for free.
  • That Holiday Smell. Scented candles can create a memorable aroma for your guests and don’t cost a lot. There are more scents available than you may realize. Remember, not all holiday smells are memorable in a good way. Stay away from Stable, Reindeer, or Santa’s Pipe candle scents.
  • Wait for Post-Holiday Sales. Pick up holiday themed decorations and other entertaining accoutrements after the holidays are over. That won’t help you this year, but you can often save 75 percent or more on after-Christmas sales because the stores need to move out their holiday inventory.

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