Money Matters Monday: Holiday Decorating on a Budget
The holidays are upon us and this is the time of year when regardless of the holiday you celebrate, there are traditions being carried out as well as new traditions being created. One thing I particularly enjoy about the month of December is the festive decorations that adorn homes, business and common space all over the world. I love decorating my own home for the holidays, but I have to approach it from a frugal perspective, because it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season, especially if you have kids or grandkids. These are some of the tricks that I use to keep my decorating budget in check.
The one part of the holidays that I do not like is when it is time to take down all the lovely decorations, but the period directly after the holidays and New Years is a great time to stock up on decorations for next year. Big box stores will typically deplete the holiday décor starting at 25% and moving to 75% as time moves on. Patience pays off and I recommend waiting to buy standard items such as indoor/outdoor lights, wrapping materials (paper, boxes, ribbon etc), and simple ornaments or displays. Items such as inflatable lawn décor and specific ornaments (for example anything with the current year engraved on it) will go fast so if you are interested in those buy them immediately when they go on sale. The best part is that when you open up the decorations next year it will be like you went on a shopping spree!
Before the holidays, make a list of what you have and what you want/need in terms of holiday décor. If you need items before the holidays, set a budget for the items and do the best to stick to it. Along the same lines, balance quality and quantity. Decide which items need to be high quality so that they can be reused year after year (a tree stand is an example) versus lower quality items that can be easily replaced or disposed of over time (I always find myself buying small ball ornaments by the half dozen).
Find a way to incorporate decorations into any traditions that you set as a family. For example, I know a family that gives everyone one ornament with the year and their name on it to commemorate each holiday. Another family has one night of gifts themed to be some sort of holiday decoration (homemade or store bought so the kids can participate on their own). These are really fun ways to build up decorations year over year and create lasting family traditions.
For those with kids or grand kids, try setting up time to do arts and crafts as part of decorating for the holidays. The kids can make gifts for friends and family as well as simple holiday decorations like popcorn strands for a Christmas tree. While the decorations the kids make will not be perfect, they may end up being some of the most treasured decorations in 10 or 20 years.
While there are many places to save money when it comes to holiday decorations, I do highly suggest investing in a large tote to safely store all of the items that you want to use from year to year.
How do you keep your holiday decoration spending in check? Please share any fun or unique traditions that your family has!
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