With the current economic situation we live in, it can be difficult to get into the spirit of the season especially if your financial resources are limited. However, with the right mindset, a little effort and a bit of creativity, frugal living can be a fun and empowering way to make the holiday season more enjoyable.
Feel Good Frugal Tips:
1. Secret Santa – Play Secret Santa rather than buying a gift for everyone in the family. My sister shared this brilliant idea with the family several years ago and we’ve been playing it ever since.
How it works… We all put our names into a hat/bowl and each one of us chooses a name. The person you choose is the person you secretly purchase a gift for. One person is usually designated as the Gift Master and records who chose who and follows up to makes sure everyone gives a gift. Only he/she knows who has who.
To minimize unwanted gifts, each family member has an Amazon Wish List set up but the gift does not necessarily have to be purchased at Amazon. We also put a maximum dollar limit on it and it works out great! Every person gets a gift and every person only has to buy one gift. Lovely!
2. Cash or Layaway – If you can’t pay cash right now, layaway is a better option than a credit card. Ask and see if it’s an option at your favorite store. Many stores such as Sears, K-mart, Toy-R-us, and Best Buy (select stores) all offer it. It never hurts to just ask.
3. Ask for Discounts – For example, check in with your service providers and see if you are getting the best price. This is a bit of an art form in that it’s best to not to sound like a demanding customer. I was able to get discounts on my phone, cable TV, and car insurance just by explaining that due to financial reasons, it looks like I would have to cancel and that although I’ve been happy with their service, it’s just not affordable for me at this time. I then ask, before I cancel, is there anything we can work out as far as price to make it doable.
4. Trim Your Budget – Go through your monthly budget and see what you can go without. Try going without a few things and see if it’s doable, you can always add it back in later. Comb through this periodically. You may be surprised about how much you can save.
5. Credit Card Points – If you typically use credit cards, check if you have any unused reward points to cash in for cash or gift cards or gifts.
6. Check Online – Before you make a purchase, check online for better Deals -Check amazon, ebay, pricegrabber, or Overstock and see if you can find what you’re looking for a better price. Please remember to check on the sales tax and shipping costs to be sure it’s still a great deal.
7. Potluck – What’s better than a home cooked meal? How about several free ones! Potlucks are great and frugal way to share and enjoy new dishes or “ancient” recipes with family and friends. It works great when someone is organizing it, then he/she will know what people are bringing and can make suggestions to ensure there will be a great variety. Bon Appetit!
8. Subscribe – Subscribing to the email/mailing list of some of your favorite stores or restaurants could yield significant discounts. G is foodie and I was wildly surprised at the number of deals we’ve received at some of his favorite restaurants especially around our birthdays.
9. Coupons – Traditional coupons are still found in weekly flyers, direct mail ads and Sunday papers, but for online purchases, couponcabin.com and retailmenot.com are great sites for finding coupon codes.
10. Savvy Saver Girl – If you’ve never visited this site, you’ll be in for a treat! She shares great deals all the time so its a great site all year round, not just for the holiday season. Her entire site is about saving money and she scours the web for coupons and discounts so we don’t have to. She rocks! Below is a quick glance at her archives and some of my favorites that I have found:
Homemade Beauty Bargains – Oh I just loved this. I have a few home beauty tips to add and I will, shortly I will, promise!
Target’s Daily Deals – Loved this post very helpful, I had no idea.
Facebook for Coupons – This one talks about going to your favorite store’s fan page because often deals and coupons are mentioned there, but only for a short period of time or for a limited amount of customers.
It may not appear significant to shave off a few dollars off here and there, but over time, you’ll feel the positive effects of spending less and saving more. Drops in the bucket do matter and they do have a cumulative effect. The key is to make frugal living fun and not to go so extreme that you feel a sense of lack and deprivation.
* Be careful to not purchase things that you don’t need just because they’re at a great price or you have a coupon. That’s the slippery side of good deals.
Frugality is one of those things that works best when we ease into it, like stretching or yoga. Little by little we get deeper into our stretch and it feels great – well, the same for frugal living, when we ease into it, it feels great!
What are your frugal secrets? Please share!