Winter holidays – Christmas, New Year and Lunar Year – are notoriously the time when you are supposed to give the joy of gifting to anyone including the walls and doors of your own home. Do not deprive yourself of the positive vibes of Christmas, the amount of money spent does not correlate to the joy you get.
Spend wisely and don’t put pressure on yourself to make more or spend less. And never fall into the temptation of wasting too much and be regretful later.
In December, people spend like crazy with a comforting thought: oh, we live only one life. I spend a bunch right now but I’ll be wiser and be less spendy in January. That’s going to compensate and keep a balance. No-no-no, please think of it right now as long as you want to live your best life right now. You’ll thank us later.
So, let’s dive into the practical tips below.
1. Choose time over money
There’s an old saying, “It’s the thought that counts”, which actually means that the most precious things do not cost the money. For some people, the thought of spending time together really is better than the joy of a physical gift. You can save money this year by being intentional about being together—in whatever way you can, whether that’s in person or virtually. This year, value experiences over high-end things and conversations over clutter.
2. Resist retail marketing when you’re bored or angry
As an example, Americans spent $886.7 billion on the holidays in 2021. That’s a lot. Avoid online shopping, unsubscribe from retailers’ newsletters, forget about shopping when you are bored or angry.
Regifting has a bad reputation, but it’s time to move away from that. Think of regifting as a sensible “gifts relocation program.”
Be mindful and don’t regift fashion accessories to your friend who is not into fashion at all. Or something that can be easily identified between your friends. It’s totally okay to regift small kitchen appliances to someone who might need them. It saves money and keeps a gift from going unused.
4. Order online early and combine your orders
Speaking of shipping, plenty of stores offer it free of charge if you spend a minimum amount. So, why not do that! If you see the perfect princess-themed pajamas you know your niece would love, but you’re below the minimum amount for free shipping, keep shopping inside that store. Is there anything for your boyfriend on that same website?
Don’t buy just to buy—but be thoughtful and combine orders to lower shipping costs.
5. Don’t shop at the mall
Avoiding the mall and offline shopping means also avoiding every single pushy kiosk salesperson (My mother-in-law recently spent as much as 700 dollars for a skincare kit of a brand we all never heard of before and never will). Plus, you won’t have to worry about the millions of distractions, including (but not limited to) creepy mall Santa, the delicious scents of cinnamon-sugar pretzels, and all those tempting retail window displays. Oh, and the parking lot jams. And the crazy crowds. Save money, stress and time—don’t go to the mall.
6. Splurge on group gifts
Beyond the decorations, big meals, school extras, and fancy outfits, gifts are definitely the biggest cost for my family during the winter holidays period.
Family gifts are cheaper than individual presents to every family member. As long as we are family, treat the family as the group of people that are dear to your heart. It’s more affordable and still satisfying right?
7. Use cashback sites and browser extensions
Our favorite tip ever. Some of the cashback services give up to 15% cashback around the holidays. Search for coupon codes whenever you’re shopping. The moment they pop up is so precious!
8. Save on your home decor
DIY is everything! Be creative with your garlands as an example. Garlands made of dry twigs, popcorn or even mittens are cute and creative and Instagram-friendly. Pop a few ornaments and voila! And that’s great entertainment and creativity for the whole family.
Add cheer to your front door! Doors are not created for wreaths only. No matter if you live in a single-family home or an apartment – you still have a front door, right? Instead of traditional pine wreaths hang a pair of vintage ice skates, decorate them with a ribbon or an ornament. Or a huge handmade snowflake.
Or try a non-tree tree. Why spend money on faux or real pine trees? If you have a wall, you have a tree! Arrange holiday postcards or family pictures in the shape of a tree.
Don’t forget to put a basket under the tree to collect gifts.
9. Packaging is not born expensive
Let’s not spend tons on the gift packaging. Ribbons are perfect on any gifts, even odd-shaped (that are difficult to wrap), so save on wrapping paper.
Winter is generously suggesting a whole variety of celebrations to us, and no matter what and if you celebrate, these events imply cooking, decorating, partying and gifting.
Take the best of all the processes, have fun and spend wisely.