Bits of Sweetness: Save Hundreds on Christmas this Year!

Save Hundreds on Christmas this Year!

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat! Please to put a penny in the old man's hat.

I love that song. We have it on a John Denver & the Muppets CD and I think of it every time the holidays come around. In November, I put the music on, grab a cup of coffee, and plan out our gifts for the season. Gifts are so synonymous with spending waay too much. I'm finding that these things have been a huge help in saving a lot. After all, who wouldn't love to not be behind come January? If you're wanting to save a lot of pennies this year, read on 

1  Harness the power of saying no.
Say this to yourself: my family will still love me the same! You can spend what you can spend. Think of it as a lesson in gratitude for family! Think of the 3 year rule: how much use will this see in 3 years? Then buy accordingly.

2  Hold a gift exchange. 
Instead of buying everyone in the family a gift, each person draws a name and shops for that one person. I really enjoyed this because it gave me a chance to get to know family better!

3  Shop by what will fit in a flat rate box.
Can we talk about how painful shipping is?! Arm and a leg I tell you, especially if you're a pro at procrastinating (like me!!) Then you're looking at giving both arms and legs and your firstborn. Ouch. Save on both ends by saving space and planning enough time to ship at a cheap rate. Fun ideas for this: Fuzzy socks, a fancy scarf, tickets to an event, gift card to a favorite restaurant, books, movie with movie night treats- the small possibilities are endless!

4  Shop locally.
I love supporting local businesses. Often, they will run great sales around Black Friday. Sometimes you can even score an extra gift card or product with a buy one get one deal. Not to mention, local companies are fun to share with loved ones.

5  Give the gift of time.
We are giving our own kids coupons for free and low cost activities to redeem once a month. Hikes, a date to get a delicious sticky bun at our favorite local spot, finding a new park, movie night, a long back massage- all of these are easy, inexpensive, yet memorable! I think I underestimate how much my time means to others. You know?

And a bonus one- plan ahead
It makes sense! I mean, Christmas comes every year. I like to shop clearance and sales throughout the year to spread out the expense. I think of our kids too and how choosing to save money on gifts can pay off in the long run if we put it into savings for them. It helps even more if we save long-term!

This handy chart from Voya is a good idea for what to give family with littles.

Instead of getting spendy things, you could easily invest a little for their future. I still have the savings bonds my Grandpa gave me. This is even better.  :)

I'm glad for a reason to save a little towards the future and have more time this Christmas. These kids are my world!

This year, Voya wants to give any babies born on October 19, 2015 a $500 head start to savings. The deadline to apply is December 18 so head here to find out more!

What are your best money-saving tips during the holidays? What deals have you scored lately? My favorite has to be a free photo canvas for the grandparents! 

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