Terry and Tony in South Africa. Two South Africans working from home in East London in South Africa since early 2008.

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Christmas Time – 10 Ways to Save Money at Christmas Time

Moms know best, but for those moms feeling a little stressed as Christmas time approaches because their finances are not so great at Christmas time, they may not be able to think as clearly as they usually do.

Christmas time

Christmas time

Relieve a bit of that stress, by using some of these 10 ways to save money at Christmas time – also consider applying some of these methods of saving money to other times of the year too, so that next Christmas you won’t be as broke as you are this Christmas.

10 Ways to Save Money at Christmas Time

1 )
What to drink at Christmas Time:

Kids (and some adults too) tend to go through quite a few fizzy drinks at Christmas time. Make some homemade juices and cooldrinks, and homemade ice-lollies.

garlic bread - have more breads and less meat at Christmas time to save money

garlic bread – have more breads and less meat at Christmas time to save money

2 )
What to Eat at Christmas Time:

When trying to save money at Christmas time, jot down Christmas lunch food items that won’t need cooking or baking, or jot down Christmas food ideas that won’t involve much cooking at all.

Get creative and try a completely different approach to how you normally think about Christmas lunch.

Bread is filling and cheap. Bread is cheaper than meats and other expensive Christmas food items. Provide less meats and other Christmas goodies, and more breads – offer a few different types of bread, including some of the more fancier breads.

driftwood Christmas tree - make a homemade Christmas tree to save money at Christmas time

driftwood Christmas tree – make a homemade Christmas tree to save money at Christmas time

3 )
Homemade Christmas Trees:

If you buy a new fresh Christmas tree every Christmas, this Christmas don’t. Create your own homemade Christmas tree instead. Get a little creative with your Christmas tree – it does not have to look like a pine tree or fir tree. Break a twiggy branch off a tree in your garden and use that. It doesn’t even have to have leaves on it.

Consider painting or spray-painting the tree in silver, green or gold (or all three!) You could even wrap the tree as if you were bandaging it, in strips of white paper the kids have coloured in, in green. Or leave the paper white for a white Christmas look. Add a little glitter.

If you have many trees in your garden, from which you could break many branches, make more than just one homemade Christmas tree, and sell the rest.

Decorate whatever you stand your Christmas tree in, in similar colours or theme. Or stand your Christmas tree in nothing – hang it from the ceiling so that the bottom is just 2 or 3 centimetres off the floor (which would be hidden anyway by decorations or gifts placed there) and hanging it would also help keep the top of it nice and upright.

homemade Christmas gift wrap

homemade Christmas gift wrap

4 )
Save Money by Making your own Christmas Gift Wrap:

Who says you even need sticky tape? Tie wool or string or sisal around the gift wrap instead. Your Christmas gift wrap does not have to be bought. Create your own Christmas gift wrap from decorated white paper or brown paper, or even go natural and use newspaper or large leaves. So that the newspaper gift wrap looks creative rather than a cheap alternative to Christmas gift wrap, decorate it with other natural items too, like shells, leaves, seed pods and twigs. Add something green or red or silver – after all, it’s Christmas time!

If the gifts are quite small, find an interesting Christmas pattern or image on the Internet, Print it out and use that piece of paper to wrap your gift. Do not, however, try and sell this kind of gift wrap, as very many Internet images are copyright protected. You could of course also create your own Christmassy patterns on a computer and could sell those.

Who says you have to use paper as gift wrap? You could also use material, decorated containers, or homemade containers like containers made out of cardboard or twigs.

5 )
Save Electricity at Christmas Time:

As at any other time of the year, switch those lights off when not in the room, switch switches at the wall off, and unplug plugs not in use. Also think of lovely summer meals and salads that don’t need cooking. Eat dinner by candlelight. Go for a walk instead of watching tv.

Skip using Christmas lights or Christmas tree lights this year. Make up for the lack of Christmas lights by adding some extra Christmas decorations this Christmas, especially if they are homemade, and didn’t cost you much or anything at all.

6 )
Homemade Christmas Tree Decorations and Christmas Decorations:

Especially if you’re not using Christmas lights this Christmas, you may need some extra Christmas tree decorations, window and door decorations, and decorations in your front garden. Do not go and buy extra decorations, but make some yourself instead.

If you’re after a white Christmas look, hang some popcorn on the Christmas tree.

Collect a few pine cones and use them wherever.

Find that old clothing you were about to toss out anyway, and look for red or green items, or anything silvery or goldish, and even white will do, and cut it into strips. Use these strips for tying bows around the trees in the front garden – add some red and green leaves into the mix, perhaps tie on a pine cone or two too – and you have a decorated tree in your front garden, just perfect for Christmas. Use the same strips of clothing for making a Christmas decoration for your front window or door.

For Christmas tree decorations, squish and form tinfoil into shapes, or squish and form paper into shapes that you wrap with material or tie material over. Think of the head of an angel – simply squish some paper into a ball, wrap the ball with white material, tie at the neck of the angel (beneath the bottom of the ball of paper) and let the rest of the white material hang down as the angel’s clothing. Draw or paint on a face, and glue on some hair.

Patterned material could be wrapped over a ball of squished up paper, tied at the top with some material spilling out, trimmed, and hung from the Christmas tree as a miniature Christmas pudding.

You may want to consider selling some of your homemade Christmas decorations at a flea market or craft market a few weeks before Christmas, so that making homemade Christmas decorations not only saves you some money, but makes you some money too.

7 )
Save Money at Christmas Time by Buying in Bulk:

If you’ve never bought in bulk before, do it at Christmas time at least. Groceries, sweets, cooldrinks and biscuits are not the only items to be bought in bulk. Visit some stores you’ve never been to before, and check out what else you may be able to buy in bulk. Something to look out for in particular is small toys packaged in a larger packet or container – split the toys into separate piles and allocate those piles to children whose Christmas stockings you want to fill, or who you want to give a variety of toys to, rather than just one big expensive Christmas gift.

Some toys automatically come in bulk – think of marbles. Buy two packs of marbles, each pack containing different marbles to the other, and then divide the marbles into four or more piles so that four or more children each get two different types of marbles for Christmas. You have also split two packs of marbles between more than two children, saving you money.

8 )
Save Money at Christmas Time by Making your own Homemade Gifts:

Make edible goodies as Christmas gifts. Wrap beautifully and creatively.

Copy some old recipes in your own neat handwriting. Put them all together as a book or file, and wrap beautifully.

Make homemade calendars using photos you’ve taken yourself.

Make homemade Christmas cards.

Special finds: Make homemade ornaments or arrangements, preferably quite large, that can stand in the corner of a room or on a table. Use natural objects like driftwood, pebbles, shells, twigs, seed pods, river reeds, bamboo, dried grasses and dried long leaves, and dried flowers (hang fresh flowers upside down to dry straight)

Make smaller homemade Christmas gifts with these found natural items too – add decorations to a shell, pebble, small piece of driftwood, or seed pod. Create little animal or little people shapes.

9 )
Save Money on Transport Costs at Christmas Time:

It’s holidays! Just think, you’re already saving a little on the cost of petrol because there are no school trips to be made at Christmas time, but take this a little further by making a list of places to take the kids out to – places that are not very far from where you live. You’re already saving money on the cost of transport to school and back, so why waste this opportunity to save money? Either adamantly refuse to take the kids on outings that are not close to home, or arrange that a friend and her children come with on the outing, and you and your friend can share the cost of the petrol, or your friend can pay a little more at the outing venue in return for the lift you gave her.

Also, go over and over your Christmas shopping list in case you missed something. This way you can be sure that you buy all you need for Christmas in just one or two days.

Instead of taking the kids to movies, hire a dvd or two, invite some of their friends around, make popcorn.

10 )
Make Use of Discount Vouchers at Christmas Time:

Never use grocery discount vouchers? When trying to save money at Christmas time then it is time to use grocery discount vouchers. Maybe you never even notice discount vouchers in the grocery aisles. Make a mental note to look out for these vouchers, when you’re about to go grocery shopping.

Just don’t make such a good mental note that you end up buying products you don’t really need just because they are discounted. However, do consider trying a different brand of product to what you usually buy, if it has a discount voucher for it.

Also, even if there is no discount voucher, consider trying different brands of products to what you usually buy, if they are cheaper. So take a little longer when you shop, keeping your eyes open for bargains or opportunities, and save money.

Save some money, be stress-free, and have a great time at Christmas time!

© Copyright Teresa Schultz 2012, 2013, 2014

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