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Cut Christmas Costs and Have fun Doing it

Well here we are yet again, another year has flown by and the countdown to Christmas is about to begin. Hands up if you are feeling a little stressed or tight in this current economy? For me, regardless of my financial situation, I have always enjoyed a good deal, so lets get down to it!

1. Start Shopping Yesterday

Or at least start now if you haven't already. We have a month till the big day and spacing out your shopping not only take some pressure off your pocketbook, but more importantly, preserves your sanity. I spent one too many holidays running around last minute until I finally learned my lesson.

2. Go to the Dollar Store!

I don't care how much money you have, the Dollar Tree, Dollarama or whatever is local to you, is a not so secret weapon when it comes to any event or holiday! Honestly I find some of my most loved décor items here. But more importantly, this is where you should be buying items like gift tags, ribbons, and entertaining supplies. You might be surprised at what you find.

3. Shop Second Hand

Now this suggestion can often be received in different ways. Perhaps you're not comfortable giving, or for that matter, receiving used items and that's OK! Shop used and local for beautiful, unique decorations that you will cherish for years to come. Not only are you helping the environment and reducing your carbon footprint, you're also supporting a small business or non f profit. And for those of us ok with pre-loved gifts, hop on the trend. These gifts actually have beautiful intention behind them, so give and/or receive them with grace.

4. Secret Santa for the Win

If you usually exchange gifts in your various social circles, make the switch the secret Santa. This can actually increase the quality of gifts exchanged, while saving time and money. Set a limit and stay within it!

5. Look for Deals and Savings

Believe it or not, you shouldn't be paying full price for everything. If you plan on following step one (Start Shopping Yesterday) then you need to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday too! Additionally, there are deals to be had on everything from jewelry to shoes to housewares, so always search for promo or discount codes before finalizing online purchases. We actually bought our house a Nespresso machine here as an early Christmas gift!

6. Plan Cost Free Activities

There are so many things that truly don't cost a penny.

- find your local neighborhoods with the best Christmas displays, pack your travel mug and drive on through while listening to Christmas music in the car

- wander through a local market or craft fair. Some have admissions, but many are free!

- get dressed up and check out your local hotels. You can usually find charity Christmas tree and gingerbread house displays here.

- Christmas Parade is always a fun one, especially if you have kids

- Christmas movie nights are a classic

- volunteering is quite possibly the most fulfilling thing you can do during the holidays. That said, it is the busiest time for volunteers, so look beyond the standard soup kitchen to find ways to impact your community

I hope you can draw inspiration here to enjoy this beautiful season without breaking the bank. I would love to hear your tips in the comments below too. Christmas shouldn't be all about spending money, but rather about spending time together.

xx Kelly

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