Regardless of whether you set aside savings all year, scrimp on luxuries as autumn arrives, or splash out and worry about it later, the cost of Christmas is a genuine concern for many Americans as the big day draws closer.
Top tips for a cost-effective Christmas
While the subject of a cost-effective Christmas can be disheartening, or even downright stressful, for those who wish they had more to spend, the good news is that it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a frugal, and environmentally friendly, festive season – you just need to approach your shopping and preparation with a slightly different mindset.
The idea of handmade presents being cheap, an ‘easy way out’, or downright rude, is a thing of the past. That’s right, gifting your loved ones an item that you’ve slaved over is now incredibly popular, and a fantastic way of saving those dollars. As if that wasn’t reason enough, choosing to make your own presents is also incredibly green. With no packaging to pay for, a myriad household items used up rather than being thrown away, and the opportunity to introduce the idea to friends and family, there has never been a better time to reduce your carbon footprint – your only issue may be deciding when to stop.
It’s never an easy conversation to have, particularly with certain family members, but it’s one that needs to happen if you want to stop Christmas from costing the Earth. That’s right, it’s time to talk presents. If you come from a large family, consider sending gifts only to children of a certain age or younger, or banish cards altogether. Similarly, now may be the time to suggest sending ‘family presents’ – that is, a single present that can be used and enjoyed by everybody, rather than individual gifts. Your cash-strapped friends and family may well applaud your suggestions.
While it’s tempting to head into the nearest mall and aim to finish your shopping in record time, that’s not always the most savvy way to shop – sorry, gentlemen! Slowly building a collection of gifts throughout the year, or heading to the January sales to buy next year’s presents are fantastic hacks, while shopping online is the latest trend. In fact, many high street stores will now offer the same items online, and for a fraction of the cost. Just think of the gas, time, and effort saved – hurrah! Many online retailers tend to offer a host of practical gift ideas as you shop, which makes the process so much easier, and satisfying.
Whether you usually plan for months at a time or generally go with the flow until Christmas Eve, it’s time to re-evaluate how you organize gift buying, feeding the family, and tidying up afterwards. These days it’s so tempting to buy whatever we fancy and worry about what to do with the leftovers once January arrives, but wouldn’t it be savvier to cut back, purchase only what we need, and use the remains frugally?
Of course, this list of hints and tips is not exhaustive – you may even have a few cost-saving hacks of your own. Hopefully though, you have been inspired to shop a little more frugally this Christmas, and to get your family involved.