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! We want to makes sure that this year is filled with less stress and more joy. That is the purpose of the holidays! It is a time for families to get together and reflect on their beliefs and all the blessings they have received throughout the year. It is literally the most wonderful time of the year, SO let’s make it feel that way!

Preparing Your Home

Purge – Get rid of unused items in your home and donate them. Doing so will clear space for the incoming, and donating items 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! ALSO, check out our post showing my 7 rules when cleaning out my closet. This will help you know what items you REALLY need and which ones should go.

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, but it’s not good for you! Use our huge index of freezer meals and set aside a day now to prepare a dozen dinners. Then on a busy day, you can pull one out of the freezer 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. A wonderful way to reduce the chaos in your life – by doing so in your living space. 🙂

Preparing Your Budget

Choose NO Debt – Even if you haven’t started saving for Christmas at this point, you can still create a budget. Use a simple spreadsheet, if you want. Check out this simple budget and some tips about how to keep it frugal this Christmas. You can decide now 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 email newsletter and we’ll send you an email with the deals we find each day! OR sign up for text notifications! It is super simple. Check out our post for more details. OR, just simply text the number which deals you are wanting to receive.

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. Check out some Homemade Gift Ideas!

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!

Take Advantage of 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! Often times you can get $10+ off of priced gift cards which will save you tons of money! We often posts these deals on our deals page so BE SURE to always be checking in!

Preparing Early

Christmas Cards – Get your Christmas card list organized or consider alternate ideas to mailing cards like a digital video card. Whenever I mail out cards, I like to organize the addresses, double check, and print out the labels before thanksgiving! That way once I get the cards ready, all I have to do is stick the label on! But lately I have loved the idea of just doing digital cards. Of course you can still mail a copy to close family and friends, but if you were to put your christmas card on facebook (or just send it in facebook messenger) You will be able to reach all the people on your list!

Neighbor/Friend Gifts – Make them now and save for later! You can make and freeze cookie dough, then bake them when you’re ready to (or just give them a cute container 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. See more DIY Gift Ideas.

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 – This give you time to watch for sales on the items you need, and you can start making and freezing certain dishes ahead of time.

Preparing for Next Year

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! We share our favorite toy deals all year long too! I have a friend who does ALL of her christmas shopping in July and then just stores it away. She is never stressed during the holiday season!

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 next year!). I often buy birthday gifts in advance when the deals are hot too!

Most Importantly

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.

We hope that this holiday season is awesome! We want it to be a happy, wonderful time where you can make memories and enjoy each others company. REMEMBER what matters most. It is so easy to get lost in the shopping, baking, prepping… but DO NOT let yourself to do that. Remember why we are celebrating!!

Before we go, I have one last Tip/Idea for you!

Have you ever thought about giving vacation as your christmas gift? Hear me out, we have had a few years where we gave all the kids a trip instead of gifts. It was unexpected, I didn’t have to wrap up boxes and boxes of toys, and the kids were overjoyed. There are so many fun ways to surprise your kids and send them on a vacation. We often think that it would be more expensive to travel then it would to just buy them gifts, but there are ways to travel for SO CHEAP. And lately, toys and electronics (which is what most kids want for christmas) are SO expensive! You’d be amazed at how affordable a vacation can be.

I highly recommend using Get Away Today when planning your family’s gift of a vacation! Not only do they take the stress and worry out of planning your vacation, they offer over 1,900 destinations at the best prices! AND they have discounted Disneyland tickets! You can reserve your vacation on their interest free layaway plan for as little as $125 down!! Hows that for a great deal!?

Be sure to use our exclusive promo code FABFRUGAL15 to save an additional $10 off their discounted prices on any Southern California vacation. You can use the code online, or call their agents at 855-GET-AWAY (tell them you want the Fabulessly Frugal discount). You can even start planning a vacation surprise for next year’s holidays. Whatever destination you choose, you can be sure your family will have a great time!

And be sure to check 12 Reasons Why Disneyland Should Be Your Next Family Vacation  AND My Favorite Hacks to Traveling With Kids Without Breaking the Bank for more ideas on how to give the gift of vacation!

What are your tips?

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