8 Surprising Ways to Not Spend A Million Dollars This Holiday Season
Be festive, but don't break the bank
There’s no two ways around it: The holiday season is stupid expensive. Still, cutting back on the small stuff can help put some serious cash back in your pocket. Here, eight easy ways to save.
HAGGLE FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE
How to reduce the cost of that gorgeous Douglas fir? Have a sense of humor about it. When the salesman says the going rate for the six-footer is $45, suggest $5 as a counter offer. He’ll laugh, you’ll laugh and then the real negotiations can begin. A lot of times you can shave up to $10 off the total cost.
SET A TIME LIMIT IN EACH STORE
This trick is all about maintaining focus when…whoa, look at all those cute doggie hats by the register! See? Stores are experts at flaunting holiday deals and perks, but limiting browsing time means you limit your spending, too. Review your list, set your phone’s timer and start shopping.
SHOP EARLY...AND BUY IN BULK
Hey, Miss Waits Until December 24: A little advance planning can actually save you oodles. For example, you know how you'll need hostess gifts for all seven of your holiday parties? Pick up a case of wine instead of buying bottle by bottle and you can save about $100.
SUGGEST A HOLIDAY GIFT SWAP
Buying individual gifts for all of your relatives is exhausting. Set up a Secret Santa or White Elephant party, set a price limit or a theme (bonus points for creativity!) and plan to exchangegifts on Christmas Day.
DECORATE, BUT DON'T GO OVERBOARD
Limit yourself to three spots in your home where you know guests will congregate (say, your front door, the dining-room table and the fireplace). Go to town decorating these places--lights, mistletoe, the works--and don’t worry about the rest.
MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY A POTLUCK
And give explicit instructions on what everyone should bring. (Mom: mashed potatoes! Cousin Jim: cheese plate!)
AND INSTEAD OF OFFERING A BAR, WHIP UP A PUNCH
For example, this recipe for Cranberry-Mint Holiday Punch. It yields about 15 servings--and you only need one bottle of sparkling wine.
PAY ATTENTION TO FREE SHIPPING
Mark your calendar: Hundreds of retailers are participating in Free Shipping Day on December 18--and all orders placed by then are guaranteed to be a Christmas miracle.