The holidays can be expensive so we’re wrapping up the year with a blog series called Holiday Savings Tips. Check back every Monday from now until the end of December for wallet-friendly tips on travel, food, decorations, presents, and more.
Post by marketing intern, Kelly Bryant
It's easy to get carried away decorating your house, apartment, and office space for the holidays. We're here to let you know you can still go all out without seriously injuring your end of year budget. Check out these 7 ways to save when decorating, and if you have other money-saving tips, please share in the comments!
Have a decoration swap with friends
Instead of spending a ton on new decorations this year, exchange past holiday décor with friends. Decoration swaps are a great way to change up your theme and spend time with friends and family while saving money. Before swapping items, make sure you establish which decorations will be returned and which will be kept.
Host a decoration making "potluck" party
Choose some DIY projects from the tips below or find some of your own and invite friends over to create original holiday masterpieces. Make it a potluck-style get-together by asking each guest to bring a few supplies. Making decorations as a group will give you a bigger selection of supplies and ideas, not to mention the added together time—an important part of the season!
Turn items you already have into simple decorative touches
There’s no need to buy all new items to switch up your holiday decorations. All you have to do is think creatively and use what you already have. Some ideas:
* Place hardcover holiday children’s books on end tables and coffee tables
* Use a festive scarf as a table or mantle runner
* Frame attractive holiday cards and use them as wall art or on tabletops
* Turn branches, old books and magazines, or sweaters into tabletop-size mini trees
* Put ornaments into a pretty glass bowl
* Cover family pictures in wrapping paper to make them look like hanging presents
* Make your own garland to hang on your tree or around doorways. Try popcorn, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, or pasta.
Turn pretty paper into beautiful ornaments
Who knew paper ornaments could look so classy? Dress your tree this year with DIY ornaments that don’t require complex origami skills. Chances are you have most of the supplies lying around the house already. Get creative and use any paper you can find: construction paper, wrapping paper scraps, old books, magazines, and more.
* Striped paper ball
* Sheet music star
* Geodesic paper ball
* Cardboard igloo
Save on your power bill by using LED lights and a timer
If you love covering your house in hundreds of strands of lights, you know that leaving them on all night can drastically increase your electric bill. Save money and hassle by using an outdoor timer to automatically turn your lights off at a specified time each night (10pm or later when most people are home and getting ready for bed).
If you want to keep lights on all night, or want to save even more with a timer, buy LED bulbs. The initial cost is a bit higher, but LED lights use only 10-15% of the energy regular bulbs use, which can save you a bundle. Not to mention the average LED light bulb lasts up to 100,000 hours compared to the standard bulb life of 2,500 hours.
Choose everlasting over evergreen when picking a tree
Real Christmas trees have the perks of a great look and piney smell, but they are also notorious for shedding plenty of needles, having sticky, sappy branches, and being quite expensive. The average real tree costs anywhere from $40-$80 (depending on the type and size), and that’s an annual cost. One great way to save money and avoid the mess of a real tree is to buy an artificial one. They typically sell for around $100, but you can reuse them year after year, saving in the long run. Plus, if you long for that fresh pine smell, you can spray your tree with a pine scented room freshener or light some pine candles (but not too close to the tree!).
Make your own unique wreath out of unconventional, fun materials
Save money by avoiding expensive floral or evergreen wreaths and opting for a more custom DIY option.
* White twig winter wreath
* Clothespin card/picture wreath
* Recycled card holly wreath
* Light bulb wreath (great for those burnt out bulbs you were planning to toss!)
* Framed ornaments wreath
We hope this list will help you save money on your decorations this year! One more tip: if you are able to, buy decorations for next year early to get all the great sales prices. Below are the best times to buy:
- After-Christmas sales – save at least 50% on all holiday-related items at the end of December, including LED lights
- Outdoor decorations – the best sales are in early November
- Indoor decorations – buy these in mid-November for huge savings
- Tree trimmings – after Thanksgiving you can find these extremely cheap