Tips for Preparing for the Holidays
Let’s face it… we could all use some help when it comes to being better prepared for the holidays. Let this be your year to take control of your budget, your time, and enjoy what matters most… your loved ones! The Fabulessly Frugal team gathered ideas of ways to help YOU prepare for the holidays! Enjoy!
Preparing Your Home
- Purge – get rid of unused items in your home and donate them. Not only will it clear space for the incoming, donated items that are rarely used will bless someone else (plus it’s a tax write off!). Need extra cash? Take the items to a consignment store and use the store credit to buy gifts your family WILL use. OR consider getting together with friends and swapping your stuff!
- Meal Plan -as our favorite time of the year gets closer, the craziness can make for rushed dinner times that often involve fast food and take out. Not only will this hurt your budget, it’s not good for you! Use our huge index of freezer meals and set aside a day now to make up 12-15 dinners. Then on a busy day, you can pull one out and dinner is taken care of!
- Clean Your Home – even if you don’t have guests, a clean and organized home will feel good. Check out our list of homemade cleaners.
Preparing Your Budget
- Choose to NOT go into debt – if you haven’t started saving for Christmas at this point, you can still create a budget. Determine to save something every month next year. Remember that you don’t need to spend much to make some cherished memories. (And how many of the items that you purged to prep your home were gifts from last year?)
- Create a gift stockpile – Watch for items on clearance and purchase them for a gift stockpile. Subscribe to our gift ideas newsletter and we’ll email you any time we find a fabulous price on a great gift idea!
- Give Service – Consider a year of giving service instead of giving gifts. How much would Grandma and Grandpa love a summer of mowed lawns instead of another tie, shirt, or PJ’s?
- Go Homemade – homemade gifts are cherished and can even teach your children a new skill (sewing, baking, knitting, etc). Plus your child have a memory of making and giving something special to a loved one.
- Do Your Research – Don’t waste money on trendy toys and electronics that your child will lose interest in quickly. Do some research now, determine the best product, and then watch for a deal! See our Kindle vs iPad review as an example.
- Take advantage of restaurant gift card deals. For example, Cheesecake Factory gives you free cheesecake for every $25 gift card you buy. Several restaurants do promotions like this during the holidays, so keep an eye out for them!
- Earn Cash Back – When shopping online, consider using a shopping portal such as Ebates. You’ll earn cash back on your purchases. Sign up for Ebates here and you’ll get a $10 gift card too!
- Christmas Cards – Get your Christmas card list organized or consider alternate ideas to mailing cards like a digital video card
- Neighbor/Girlfriend Gifts – make them now and save for later! You can make and freeze cookie dough and bake them when you’re ready to (or just give them a roll of frozen cookie dough). Make some extra homemade jam and stow it away in your freezer for gift giving. Try slow-cook Apple, Plum or Pumpkin Butters that can be made, wrapped, tagged, and stashed-away for later.
- Wrap as You Go – if you wrap (AND label) items as you get them, you won’t have to spend hours wrapping the day before a get together. You’ll be more relaxed knowing it’s done. Or consider just using gift boxes instead of wrap (buy these on clearance for next year too!)
- Plan the Holiday Dinner Menu Now. – not only will this give you time to watch for sales on the items you need, you can also determine which dishes you can make and freeze ahead of time.
Preparing for 2014
- Clearance! Hit after season clearance sales and buy your gift wrap, gift boxes, and other gift giving accessories when they are 70-90% off
- More Clearance! Shop the clearance sections in January and July, for up to 85% off toys!
- Build that Gift Stockpile! Make a list of everyone you are going to shop for for next year, and buy gifts along (or at least put aside the money each month, so there is no debt for 2014!). Subscribe to our gift ideas newsletter and we’ll email you all year long when we find great deals on fab gift ideas!
- Plan family time. It’s easy to forget about what matters most when you’re busy baking, shopping, cleaning, crafting, going to school programs, and attending office and church parties. Make sure you take specific time out each week to make memories. Go sledding, look at lights, visit Santa in the mall, see a holiday play. Those memories and traditions are what your kids will remember as adults, not what gift they received.
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