I know I am! I am very frugal I guess you say when it comes to the holidays. Learning from years past, I know that kids do not NEED anything except to know what the season is all about. Now that does not stop Santa from visiting, but it does make my family closer. Staples and TwitterMoms have teamed about to ask How are you saving time and money this Holiday Season?
Here are the ways I save money during the Holidays:
1. Shop for your meal items early. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I have restocked my pantry and freezer with items I will need for the all the fun of the Christmas season. I bought everything on sale. The turkey, the ham, green beans, fried onions, cream of mushroom soup, corn, stuffing, items to make our Christmas cookies, items to make our Christmas candy, and items needed to bake our bread and Cinnamon rolls.
2. Get away from name brands. Don't get me wrong I support all brands, but during the holidays when money is a little tighter, I tend to lean more to the store brands. Saving a few cents here and there really add up.
3. Make ahead meals and sides. Go through your traditional foods and look to see what items you can make up ahead of time. Mashed potatoes, squash, Cinnamon rolls, etc. Doing this will save you from not only forgetting an items on the Holiday itself, but also save you time in the kitchen.
4. Storage Containers: Don't forget to have enough containers to store any left overs. My son had to run down to my neighbors house to grab some tin foil, since I had forgotten to pick some up.
5. For presents I really believe that a well thought out gift that costs little is better than the most expensive present. Gifts which are thought out tend to actually be used. This year for instance, all 5 of my nieces are getting a purse made by me and my nephew is getting a sports tote, again made by me. In the end that is 6 gifts for under 20 bucks. Parents, Grandparents, siblings, and a few others will be receiving photo calenders. For all of our giving gifts, as the kids call them, we spent under 100 dollars for about 30 gifts. Not too bad in my eyes and everyone will appreciate their gifts.
6. Make a list: It is very important to start by making a list. list everyone you want to by for, including those you just want to send a card to. Next to their name, list ideas, likes, and dislikes for this person. Even if it will be only a lovely card sent, these likes and dislikes will come out with whatever card you choose.
7. Pre-packaged cards: A box of cards can save you quite a bit and can still be received as a well thought out gift. Take a colored pen or marker and add in a lovely note or some pictures. Did you have family pictures taken? Add one in to the card.
Ways I save time during the Holidays:
1. Like stated above I save a lot of time by baking and cooking early. I start out by making a list, see a list writing trend yet? HaHa On this list I include every item that will be on our table, not only for Christmas but I also include dinners for the month of December. Right now placed next to the turkey and dishes of enchiladas, lasagna, and baked ziti. Candy, pies, bread, cookies, and normal dinner items are listed. I make as much as I can ahead of time. Really when I make up 2-3 dishes of baked Ziti instead of 1, no extra time is used, but I end up having 1 dish in the oven and 1 or 2 in the freezer.
2. Have a plan: Always have a plan for every activity the Holiday season brings. Baking cookies; take a whole weekend and dedicate it to just that. Mix up your dough one day, bake the next, and on the last day decorate. Do all of this with fun holiday music playing as it will make the time seem to fly by.
3. Just like the baking, it is best to have a plan with your gift buying, gift making, and gift sending. I have found that if I look at my list (there is that list again) and cross off items as needed, I stay right on task. Take this week for example, I will be making up all the purses and the sports tote. So my list for this week is to sew one color a day. Starting tonight with pink and blue tomorrow and so on. This way I not only get items done, but I am also not taking a whole weekend doing nothing but sewing.
My top gift ideas:
1. Photo calendar: Not only are these very useful, those who receive them love to flip to see what picture the next month holds.
2. Reusable bags or totes: This list includes shopping bags, library bags, sports bags, purses, etc. Think of what you could put together, a library bag complete with a blank book list, book marks, notepad, and nice pen all wrapped up in the bag.
3. Gift baskets: I absolutely love gift baskets, gift bags, and the like. There are so many different ways to put together a gift basket. Not only can you do this inexpensively, you can put the most thought into it. If someone you know has had a bad year, you can put together a stress basket including, items to take a nice bath, a candle with a relaxing scent, maybe a good book, and possibly a journal with a pen.
Here is the question: What ways to you save time and money during the Holiday Season? Don't forget to check out Staples for more ideas on ways to save.