Guest post from Michelle of The Faith Notebook:
Christmas has come and gone. For some people, Christmas was a joyful time spent with family and friends. But for others, the joy of Christmas may have been overshadowed by how expensive and stressful the last few weeks of the year were.
Last-minute shopping may have caused you to run around trying to find something — anything! — for that relative you forgot. Then of course, you needed a card and wrapping paper, not to mention having to buy fresh food at the last minute so it wouldn’t spoil.
And because of all the last-minute additions to your to-do list, you had to run to the nearest store to buy whatever you needed instead of going somewhere cheaper.
If this sounds familiar, there’s a good chance you’re hoping to be just a bit more organized next year and save just a bit more money than you did this year.
Well, you’ve come to the right place — here are 12 super easy ways you can start saving for next Christmas, right now.
1. Buy discounted wrapping paper.
Gift wrapping is an inevitable part of Christmas time, so the paper will come in handy every year. Also, if you buy plain wrapping paper or neutral colors, you can use the wrapping paper throughout the year for different occasions. It’s a double win.
2. Buy discounted Christmas cards.
Or buy discounted craft supplies to make your own cards next year. You don’t have to go crazy with fancy handmade cards, it’s the thought that counts.
3. Purchase stocking stuffers now.
Products like socks, stationery, novelty items don’t expire, so buying cheaper products in advance is well worth it if you have the storage space.
4. Join loyalty programs.
Many stores and banks offer loyalty programs, or even frequent flyer programs, and allow you to earn points throughout the year without even trying. Ideally, by the time next Christmas rolls around you would’ve earned enough points to redeem gift card to save a little bit of extra cash.
5. Start your Christmas fund now.
Yes, now! If you save $1 a day for a whole year, you’ll have over $350 (or more!) in cash to spend next Christmas. There’s no doubt that money will come in handy when you need it most.
6. Shop sales throughout the year.
It might seem a bit early, but if you have a list on paper, you can buy things when they’re really cheap, saving time, money and stress during the pre-Christmas rush period.
7. Use Santa Sacks to wrap kid’s gifts.
If you don’t already use them, buy Santa sacks for your children’s presents instead of wrapping paper. Not only will you save money on gift wrapping that will only get thrown away, but you’ll reduce waste and start a lifelong tradition that your kids will cherish.
8. Stock up on non-perishable foods.
Buy packaged food for Christmas gift hampers or Christmas nibbles that don’t expire until the following year. The only issue with this is making sure the food doesn’t get eaten before next Christmas!
9. Start learning a craft for homemade presents.
This may not be for everyone, but if you’ve been thinking about taking up a new hobby, or if you spent this Christmas admiring DIY presents on Pinterest, then now is the time to start practicing.
10. Start selling unwanted items.
There’s a good chance you have a post-Christmas mess you need to clean up, so this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Funnel the money into a Christmas fund for next year and you’ll thank yourself when the time comes to spend it.
11. Recycle gift wrapping and ribbons.
Gift bags, gift boxes, or ribbons that have minimal damage are great to put aside and re-use next year.
12. Recycle gifts.
This might not appeal to everyone, but if you (or your kids) received way too many gifts, the same gift twice, or something you’ll never use, you might be better off re-gifting it instead of it gathering dust in the closet.
For anyone else who likes to be organized and save in advance, what are your top Christmas saving tips?
Michelle Savignano lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two boys under 3. She writes about faith, family, food and finances. When she’s not spending time with her family, you can find her tweeting at @mvsavs or blogging at The Faith Notebook.