10 Kaizen Tips For A Frugal Holiday Season

by Aileen

A Festive Holiday Dinner Table Last night while rehearsing for the Nutcracker we realized we’ve got only seven weeks until the performance… oh my… it has begun… we are truly in the Holiday Season!

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 amazonebay, 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!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Farnoosh November 4, 2010

I won’t show this to Andy so he’ll still go all out for me but I might exercise it for the rest of our two families :) In fact, we have been doing secret Santa for his Dad-in-law’s side all the time but I can’t get out of buying big stuff for my parents. The tips are fantastic, Aileen. I had no idea about any of these sites but I do search the web before making online purchases for coupons….great to see you back. Can’t wait til you are on the stage for the Nutcracker :)!
Farnoosh´s last [type] ..Fyodor Dostoevsky- “Crime and Punishment”

Reply

Aileen November 4, 2010

Hahaha, no need to show Andy!! Just a few great fun ways to save – they can be your secrets. :)

Reply

Katie November 4, 2010

Aileen, great tips for the holidays and for frugal living any time of year. I love your analogy to yoga and stretching. The more you try it, the better it feels and the farther you can take it. I like that. Thanks for a timely post.
Katie´s last [type] ..How to Consciously Alter Your Truth and Change Your Internal Dialogue

Reply

Aileen November 4, 2010

It’s true, they are good for any time of year. It’s always fun to share frugal tips :)

Reply

Angela Artemis November 4, 2010

Hi Aileen,
What fabulous tips – just when we’re all about to start fretting about where to get the money from for the holidays. We’ve been doing Secret Santa in our family for years now. What a relief it was to stop running around like crazy people trying to buy presents for each other – especially when we lack nothing!
Angela Artemis´s last [type] ..7 Simple Steps to Mastering Your Mind

Reply

Aileen November 4, 2010

… and the last thing you need this year is additional stress!! You’ll have an entirely new place this Holiday Season, what a great way to celebrate a fresh start!

Reply

Clearly Composed November 4, 2010

I LOVE your tips here and plan on clicking all of those links! I so adore a good bargain and years ago traded in the idea that holiday joy is determined by the amount spent in exchange for focusing on sharing moments that matter. That being said, I still love to treat the ones I love to special things and doing it on a budget makes it even sweeter. Thank you, Aileen. Consider this post bookmarked. :)
Clearly Composed´s last [type] .. Balance In Me Retreat- Active Lifestyle

Reply

Aileen November 4, 2010

Hi Emma. I’m glad you liked this one :) I agree that treating those we love feels great and coupling it with finding a good deal just sweetens it a bit more :)

Reply

Tess The Bold Life November 5, 2010

Hi Aileen,
I had no idea about Target and a couple of the other places you mentioned. Last year our family decided to stop buying gifts except for the three grandchildren. We then donate to those in need. It’s been way overdone for a long time in my opinion. It makes perfect sense with the goal of minimilism which I continue to work towards. Enough is enough. Love your tips and ideas for what I do need. Thanks!

Reply

Aileen November 8, 2010

Buying gifts for grandchildren or young ones can be a lot of fun. I have two nieces one four and one six and being with them on Christmas and sharing in their wild joy is just divine. – I like that you choose to donate. It’s a wonderful way to feel abundant and feel a real sense of contributing to a world larger than our self and immediate family. Hope you have a fantastic Holiday Season in your new home!

Reply

Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point November 5, 2010

These are great tips, Aileen. Last Christmas, I gave up on getting caught in the holiday frenzy. I spent one morning and got through my list. This year, I’m thinking about trying something new. I’m thinking about send a card to everyone on my holiday gift list letting them know that instead of buying them a present, I’m giving the money to charity. Oen of the organizations that I support will be handing out cards at their annual event designed for this specific function and I think I’m goign to use them.

Reply

Aileen November 8, 2010

Belinda, that sounds wonderful!

Reply

Isabella September 23, 2014

Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles?
I mean, what you say is valuable and everything.
However think of if you added some great visuals
or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content
is excellent but with images and clips, this site could definitely be one of the best in its field.
Amazing blog!
Isabella´s last [type] ..Isabella

Reply

Mark Brown November 5, 2010

Excellent advice!! Love the tips, enjoy every moment of this season.

Reply

Aileen November 8, 2010

Yes, I will enjoy every moment – I promise!! – even the stressful ones, if they happen, – because i just told you I would :)

Reply

Andrea DeBell - britetalk November 5, 2010

Hi Aileen! I love the holiday season and we are always trying to shake it up a bit. Instead of secret santa (which I also love), we make everyone buy presents for everybody but we make set the prices really low like $5 or so. It allows for way more shopping and brain storming which I love. We have to hunt for bargains and be creative. We sometimes also do the white elephant gift – each person brings only one present and then we open one present at time and switch. This one has some rules involved which is hard to explain here but it’s a lot of fun.
Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips! Loving blessings
Andrea DeBell – britetalk´s last [type] ..Great Masters Right Under Your Nose

Reply

Aileen November 8, 2010

Andrea, your ideas are wonderful! I’d like to know more about the way you do the white elephant.

Reply

Zengirl @ Heart and Mind November 9, 2010

Aileen,

I can not believe that Xmas is around! I like these tips, I like giving gifts of food or experiences and from heart. A few years ago, we stopped giving and receiving gifts to adults and kept only for kids and teens and it has been a huge help.

I think Christmas and holidays are about giving not taking, we often forget that.
Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last [type] ..How To Be Happy – Quotes By Wise People

Reply

Aileen November 10, 2010

Hi Preeti, I like your idea of giving food and experiences. That’s lovely!

Reply

Living the Balanced Life November 15, 2010

One thing I am doing for gifts this year is to give the gift of experiences. We are giving our oldest daughter and family an annual pass to a local natural park/attraction. This will give them a year full of great family time as it is only 10 minutes from their house.
My other kids are getting some tools of their trade, things they need for their passion/hobby/careers.
Bernice
Living the Balanced Life´s last [type] ..What are you focusing on

Reply

Aileen November 16, 2010

Hi Bernice.
I love the gift you give, annual pass to natural park, – a year of great family time. How wonderfully loving and brilliant! Thank you for sharing this – it’s fantastic!

Reply

e cigarette Brands May 30, 2014

Amazing issues here. I am very glad to look your article.
Thanks a lot and I am looking forward to touch you.
Will you please drop me a mail?
e cigarette Brands´s last [type] ..e cigarette Brands

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: