5 Creative Ways to Save: Christmas!

Creative Ways to Save on Christmas! ~ Our Cozy Den

I’m starting a new blog series this week! Every Wednesday for the next several weeks, I’m going to share with you 5 Creative Ways To Save! I often share money-saving tips — and a lot of them are common sense, standbys from days-of-old. But with this new series I’m challenging myself {and you!} to think outside the box and look for some NEW ways to save your hard-earned cash!

First up on the agenda: 5 CREATIVE WAYS TO SAVE ON CHRISTMAS GIFTS!

Christmas shopping can add up so fast. One minute you have a short gift list, and the next minute you spent two mortgage payments on Amazon Lightning Deals, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, doorbusters, impulse purchases, and who knows what else.

 

Creative Strategy #1: Stock up on FREE gifts!

At least two or 3 times a month, I am offered a free gift from one of my favorite companies, Shutterfly. They offer a TON of pretty photo gifts that are perfect for Grandparents, Aunts, & Uncles. Throughout the year, I upload several of my favorite photos of my kids, along with pictures of the kids with their loved ones. When the email hits my inbox that I have Only 24 Hours to claim my free item, I can usually make and order the item in less than 10 minutes, paying only $3-7 for shipping.

Creative Ways to Save on Christmas! ~ Our Cozy Den

I also save points for various companies, like Disney Movie Rewards, Kellogg’s, etc. I rarely pay money for the products {grandparents buy the Disney movies, Kellogg’s points come from free WIC foods}. You can also collect points for Huggies or Pampers products if you buy those. And let your friends and family know that you collect codes, in case they have points that they were just going to throw away! In the fall, I cash in all of my points and usually get 3-4 really nice gifts, and I don’t even have to pay shipping for them in most cases!

Creative Ways to Save on Christmas! ~ Our Cozy Den

 

 

Creative Strategy #2: Make handmade gifts!

Some of my kids’ favorite gifts were the things I made them for little or no cost. You can make a Lego table, a train table, kids’ artwork displays for grandparents, or one of the million ideas on Pinterest. I also make cute little home ornaments and baby photo subway prints for friends and family. (They make great wedding and baby gifts!)

One way I love to save money doing this is by getting supplies in the clearance section. Sometimes I head into Hobby Lobby or Walmart, and I don’t decide on a gift until I see what’s on clearance — it’s how I scored the blank apron for only 79¢, and decided that would be perfect for Granny! Most of these things took up a lot of my time, but the recipients loved receiving a gift that I put so much effort into. (And I usually did it at night after the kids went to bed, while I was watching TV, so it wasn’t a huge imposition.)

Creative Ways to Save on Christmas! ~ Our Cozy Den
{from top left} menu board, baby frames, home ornament, college t-shirt quilt, sequence game, pet ornaments, card table tent, Lego table, apron, train table

There are a lot of free things you can make using the internet too — make online scrapbooks for people who don’t have time to make them, use iMovie to make video collages set to music, or compile a printable coloring book of a child’s favorite characters (there are countless free coloring pages online if you take the time to gather them). Take advantage of the vast internet to make free digital gifts that cost nothing but your time!

Creative Strategy #3: Give the gift of yourself!

Maybe you’re not crafty… that’s okay! Give the gift of yourself — if you are tech-savvy, offer to help your brother-in-law run his website for his small business for X number of months. Do landscaping for your parents. Babysit for a friend so she and her husband can get away overnight. Edit photos, or take them if you are talented in photography. Make baked goods (or a gift basket full of homemade baked good mixes in mason jars). Grow a garden and give some of your bounty (canned to preserve it). Utilize your strengths!

Also you can give the gift of your time: take your mom out for a girl’s day {this can be done very cheaply with coffee, window shopping, and a walk in the park}. Take your in-laws somewhere neat (and free) that the kids love — like a local free museum, park, botanical garden, observatory, etc. They will love discovering it through your children’s eyes. Most of the time, what extended family wants is time with you — more than any material gift.

 

Creative Strategy #4: Cull the list!

Creative Ways to Save on Christmas! ~ Our Cozy Den

Don’t hate me when I say this. But you don’t HAVE to get a gift for everyone you know! When my husband and I first got married, we sent gifts to all of our closest friends, some of my cousins, and lots more. Over the years, I have limited my list to only people that we A) live with or B) used to live with… meaning our parents and siblings. For those that are married, or have a significant other, or when they have kids someday — they get a group gift for their household to share.

Now this doesn’t mean that you don’t care about your friends, or that you can’t share your love with them. You can just find other ways of doing so. Create memories together. Make a new annual holiday tradition that you share. Those will be the lovely things they remember anyway, more than any gift you could give.

 

Creative Strategy #5: Keep the change!

If you employ the creative strategies 1 through 4 above, now you can get by on a very minimal Christmas budget! It’s not uncommon for me to spend less than $200 on all Christmas gifts combined — and that includes my kids, my husband and myself, and our extended families. $200 a year is less than $17 a month, or $4 a week.

Creative Ways to Save on Christmas! ~ Our Cozy Den

It’s easy to sock away this much money by not spending coins and $1 bills when you pay for things. Set aside an envelope in your envelope system wallet to be your Christmas fund, and every time you get change back from purchasing something, put the $1 bills and coins in the Christmas fund. I cash in the coins at my local Coinstar machine for Amazon gift cards, and it costs me nothing! So easy! You’ll be stocked up and ready to go for the holiday before you know it!

 

What are YOUR strategies? Share with me ways you save on Christmas gifts!!

Creative Ways to Save on Christmas! ~ Our Cozy Den
If you like it then you’d better put a PIN in it!

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