Is it beginning to look a lot like the holidays at your house?
Wintery decorations have already gone up all over the city, adding some extra magic to our daily commutes or holiday shopping. Gift lists have started growing and kitchens are transformed into baking championships. It’s a great time of year, but also kind of an expensive one. You don’t have to break the bank or give up traditions to enjoy the holiday spirit. Here are some of my best tips for making a memorable, affordable holiday season.
Individually, decorations can start to add up. Homemade artwork can cover the walls or hang from trees for a very low cost and with enough volume to really bring the spirit. For instance, just a few paper snowflakes can be made for nothing with some scrap paper but can easily cover a whole wall with cheer.
Dollar store inspiration
Don’t forget the dollar store or bargain shops for this time of year. If not for gifts, at least for some decorations you can’t make at home and for your wrapping station. Get reasonably priced rolls of paper, bows, tins, boxes and more. You can also fulfill gift requirements with cute coffee mugs, coloring books and scented candles.
I’m not suggesting you make your friends the same style of homemade coupons you made your mom years ago — but there are a lot of great opportunities for some DIY presents this season. A dollar store mug can be easily filled with some homemade cookies or some hot cocoa mix. Pair it with a nice card and you have a truly thoughtful gift. Baked goods are an especially simple way to cover a lot of gift-giving territory for a relatively low dollar amount per person. For family members, you can go even more personal, like a photo album of memories.
There are many passionate defenders of real Christmas trees out there, and there is something definitely beautiful and authentic about one. However, on a tight budget, an artificial tree can be well worth the investment. I know of a couple who kept theirs for 25 years. At around $100 originally, that’s about $4 a year for a tree! Much more of a bargain than the “real thing.” If you can’t part with the genuine evergreen, use some of the other money saving tips here to make up the difference.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.