We did pretty good on keeping Christmas spending to a minimum (although it is never as frugal as I hope it will be) it could have been much worse. To save money, I made quite a few items that my children really loved. This year, I made a Star Wars quilt, Harry Potter pot, Ravenclaw pencil holder, and a door hanger. I also gave each family member a “favorite things” box filled with goodies that they love and very rarely get. For example, Emma got ramen noodle cups, oatmeal crème pies, chocolate bars, and Nutella. Ben got Little Debbie Christmas trees, gum, Swedish fish, and a Star Wars electric toothbrush. My husband got flavored coffee, a variety of chocolate bars, and a summer sausage log. Edible gifts are usually cheaper than material gifts, but greatly appreciated, so this tradition is a keeper for everyone.
2. Credit Card points
I received $33 in credit card reward points for the month of November. I plan to let my monthly points accrue until November 2019 so that my Christmas can be “free” again:)
**As long as I do not pay any interest this is considered free money!
3. Gingerbread house competition
We had our annual gingerbread competition recently and as usual we saved a lot of money by using graham crackers, icing, and random candies instead of the gingerbread kits. This is probably my family’s favorite holiday tradition and the competition is brutal:)
The New Year’s bug hit me hard this year, so we have been decluttering and cleaning up a storm. Every time I declutter, I find things I did not know I had, so this always saves me money in the long run (and of course less junk=less stress)
This week, we salvaged a lampshade off of a broken lamp to replace a missing one on another lamp (technically my kids did it, but moving on). We also moved around furniture upstairs, so now my son has a nice reading chair in his room and my daughter has more space in hers. My son also has a train table that he never plays with (but is still fond of) so we repurposed it by turning it into an Imaginext station. This way he can put his Batcave on top of the table and store the mini-figures and vehicles underneath. He was really pleased with this set up.
**I do have a trunk full of items to take to Goodwill later in the week, but I think I may do a little more decluttering first:)
5. Celebrated the holidays at home
We stayed home for Christmas and New Year’s Eve this year and decided to play lots of games and eat our meals with our family. For Christmas Eve we stayed home and had meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn, crescent rolls, and freshly iced sugar cookies for dinner and then the children opened two new family games. (Both Rat-A-Tat Cat and Long Cow were really fun to play)
On Christmas we opened presents, had pigs in a blanket, eggs, and cinnamon rolls for breakfast (a tradition), and then we went to Christmas mass. For lunch we celebrated with my extended family and had good food, lots of presents, and played a couple of “minute to win it” games with my nieces and nephews.
New Year’s Eve we grilled out with my parents and some of my sisters (I have five) and then we played our new games and Uno. **My family can be brutal when it comes to Uno!! But luckily no tears were shed this year:)
**Overall I feel that my holiday season was relatively frugal. I hope to make a few more gifts next year and also to buy more presents during the year as well (that way I am not running around like a crazy person again) My family also agreed to switch to Secret Santa gifts next year, so we do not have to buy something for everyone. We also agreed to have a cookie exchange as well, so we can go home with goodies that we did not get around to making and get rid of the ones we made too much of!
How did you save money over the holidays??