Frugal Christmas: Celebrating holidays on a shoestring budget
You are well-aware of the ways to save money with various homemade Christmas gifts and appetizers, but then, other costs of celebration don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket either. Here are some Christmas specific frugal living ideas for you to optimize your budget, increase your savings and avoiding unnecessary financial hassles.
Frugal tips to prepare for Christmas
A lot of families raise a separate fund out of their monthly paycheck to pay for the celebrations during the festive season. Even though you’ve started late, yet saving every penny will count. Still, you could at least plan and get ready for the celebrations with the following frugal tips:
- Invest your time or skill - You can take your children, their cousins and your loved ones on a day trip to cut down the individual costs of paying for the tour. This way you get to share the cost burden equally amongst the families and yet you don’t have to compromise on the quality of fun you’d have. You can present a family with the cost of visiting a place of interest or amusement park which was otherwise unaffordable for them or wouldn’t ever get the opportunity to visit in a lifetime. For instance, you can gift a family with a ticket to visit a zoo, Lego Land, museum, aquarium or even a movie date.
- Get one present per week – You can start stashing up on the gifts you’d like to present to your loved ones this Christmas. You can create a list or use online resources like Pinterest board to plan out the gifts you’re going to give them. So, start thinking beyond the regular loom pot holders and the popsicle stick picture frames. Try to come up with innovative gift ideas that will be talked about years later.
- Revisit your exchange rules – If you’ve been gifting every extended family members all these years during the Christmas, then you’ll have to begin the discussion so as to change the way you exchange gifts with your friends and family. You start by buying gifts for the kids at reasonable rates and after that you can arrange something for the grown-ups.
Apart from saving money and raising a dependable amount of retirement fund, frugal living can help you to stave off debt problems and a host of other financial as well as psychological traumas.
If you are thinking how is it done, then read along to find out just that.
More frugal living tips for a stress-free life
These frugal living tips would undoubtedly make you happier, provided you use them well in your life:
- Abandon your car - Though cutting down car use will save you a lot of cash, yet doing away with it altogether will be much more beneficial for you in the long run. As for the alternatives, you may take advantage of public transportation, walking and biking as means for your daily commute.
- Take cold shower – This frugal tip would be bring in two advantages for you. First is that you’d get to reduce the cost of heating up the water and second is that, you’d take shorter showers, thereby saving on water bill as well.
- Cut using the refrigerator – You might resist this, if you are an ice-cream and a cheese lover. However, this could be very much possible and there have been reports of people who’ve done it quite successfully.
- Always plan ahead – By simply planning in advance which meals to cook and on what time of the day, many frugal enthusiasts have been able to avoid getting back home starving and eating at restaurants just because it appears easier.
- Try to cook big meals - Like many other spendthrift people, you too may cook loads of chili, soup and various other dishes so that you can turn them over as remnants and put them into freezer to be used as a future meal. However, if these leftovers tastes bland to you, then to spruce those dishes up, you may add a little bit of rice or pasta to convert them into delicious appetizers.
- Bake cookies in your vehicle - This particular frugal tip will only be applicable in hot climates. However, Nicole Weston of Baking Bites has created a process by which chocolate cookies could be baked with the heat that is generated inside vehicles during the summers.
As per her suggestion, you need to park your car in the sun and use a thermometer to help you track the temperature, and safeguard your dashboard by placing a barrier in between it and the baking sheet. For this frugal tip to work, you need at least 95 degrees of temperature on the outside. Moreover, it might take you around 2 ½ hours to bake the cookies.
Contributed by Miranda Owen.