Holiday Savings Ideas

Lounge By indydebi Updated 13 Nov 2008 , 5:31am by Chippi

indydebi Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 12:26am
post #1 of 17

With economic concerns and a lot of companies cutting back (hubby's company canceled the employee christmas party due to cost), and everyone's budgets being a little more tight than normal, I thought it would be nice to share ideas on how we are saving money at the holiday.

- This will sound funny since I'm a caterer, but we're having Thanksgiving catered this year. Bob Evans has a whole dinner for $75. Daughter and I figured it up and that's less than what we would spend and there's no work involved. It works out to less than $10 a person for all of us. And did I mention no work involved?

- we normally only buy christmas for hubby's parents, our kids and grandkids, so we don't have a big family christmas exchange expense to deal with. But I think I'm going to take all those leftover egg yolks and make frozen egg noodles and give those to some family members. (I've given these before and everyone keeps asking when I'm going to do it again.) The cost is nothing .... leftover egg yolks that would have gone in the trash, some flour and a ziplok freezer bag.

- My 16 year old is taking a cosmetology class in school and wants a lot of hair tools for christmas. She told me tonight that Dollar General has a lot of the things she wants at a really low price. So, sorry Macy's ... we're shopping at Dollar General this year!

- I'm looking for small gifts that have meaning. For example, my daughter loves the diffuser room fresheners (reeds that you stick in a bottle of oil and it diffuses the scent into the room). Walmart has 3 of these in a box for only $5. Not a lot of money and she will LUV this gift!!

- Last year, I bought a turkey after Thanksgiving (when they go on sale) and it's still in my freezer, so that will be our Christmas dinner. I'm going to try to get a couple of turkeys during the post-thanksgiving sale this year.

- Just a heads up ..... a catering newsletter I get says that ham is going to be expensive this christmas. Pork exports are at an all time high and the basic supply-n-demand theory means the price is going up. So that post-thanksgiving turkey buying thing might be a good hedge bet!

- Some years ago, I started buying gift wrap at the post-christmas clearance sales. I haven't bought gift wrap in YEARS and I won't have to buy gift wrap for another 5 years! So if you haven't done this one, do it this year.

Other ideas?

16 replies
mommicakes Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 12:47am
post #2 of 17

DH & I have been doing a family tree project on his side over the past year or so, and have come upon a whole bunch of 1800 photos of family members and I had the chance at the estate auction of his Grandmother to purchase a box lot of cookbooks some recipes dated back to 1817, from the Great Grandmother & Great Aunts and Grandmothers. We are assembling a family tradition cookbook, and a DVD of the OLD photographs to distribute as our gifts for all the family members this year. The cost is very MINIMAL, but the impact is going to be extremely moving.


TheCakerator Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 12:54am
post #3 of 17

those are great ideas ... I only can think of one off the top of my head and most likely won't help many this year ... but every year after Christmas I always pick up the discounted decorations like hand towels, kitchen towels and there's usually some cute looking stuffed snowmen and santas, small gifts that are cheap to grab and hold onto until the next year and people always love that "extra gift" they get unexpectedly and they don't know you spent 2.00$ instead of 20.00$.

redhare Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 2:31am
post #4 of 17

One gift that I am making for my daughter, 2 cousins and a friend of mine her daughter. Anyway, I had bought some fabric back in August to cover my daughters nap mat for school. THEN had some batting laying around the house and saw at Target about a monthish ago a 2 pack of 5x7 frames on sale for $1.24 so I'm going to cover the frames w/ the batting and fabric to give the girls a customized 'girly' frame that they'll love and it was all under $5.00 TOTAL for everything! As we ALL know JoAnn's and Michaels puts out a weekly coupon so grab the fabric at 1/2 and batting if you don't have it on hand doesn't take much and the girls will love it!

I also hit the toy sale Target had a few months ago they had like 2 or 3 aisle of toys at LEAST 30% off some were 75% so I hit that hard and got my kids mostly taken care of. We will still get a few things (since dh wasn't involved in those purchases and he likes to be involved). But basically that was our christmas shopping right there.... ANother tip if you have school aged kids is to hit watch the sales and hit up for all of the zillion birthday parties your kids are invited to throughout the year saves you so much money AND time...

TexasSugar Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 2:57am
post #5 of 17

At my Grandma's on Xmas eve, the adults do a Round Robin, instead of everyone buying gifts for aunts & uncles and cousins. All the kids get gifts from the Great Aunts & Uncles and Oma, so they still get the fun of opening gifts.

And the adults get to fight over gifts so it drags out unwrapping (there are 20 so adults) and has us all spending time togehter in the same room interacting. We usually do $20 - $30 dollar gifts. And if couples want to go together they can.

Last year for my brothers' gifts I gave them food. I did mini loaf pans of foods that we grew up with. Lasagnas, chicken skettie, chicken pot pies. I also do meatballs and some other things. I was able to buy in bulk, so that helped save money. I also planned dinners using those things before xmas so I could make a few extras and freeze them. And they got something they could use, rather than me going and spending money on something that would just sit there.

cupcakeco Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 7:09am
post #6 of 17

I agree with indydebi--shop early and in places you normally wouldn't. Avoid succumbing to the temptation to want to run out and buy the biggest and baddest and most expensive thing going by considering more practical (and inevitably less expensive) gift options.

I'm a HUGE bargain-shopper, no matter what the occasion or time of year. icon_smile.gif

Katie-Bug Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 1:48pm
post #7 of 17

I try to start shopping the day after Christams for the next years! I know..crazy huh?? It is kinda hard, but come November it's worth it!! I am generally really busy in December, so shopping time is limited. Starting early makes it so much more enjoyable!! Now..if I could just find the time to make my holiday thank you candies... icon_confused.gif

I purchased some shirts for like $3-$5.00 for my dad, furture MIL and FIL. I will get them a little something to go with it, but they were nice shirts!!

Sam's Club has a some LED light bars, they are great!! I bought two earlier this year to give some of the men. They are like $20, and so handy!!

I also have been ebay-ing!! I got the entire Scrubs dvd set for $100!!! That season's 1-7, great savings!!! You have to be patient, but generally you can find a good deal on there.

I have something for everyone, I just need to pick-up some little things to add to there gifts. Hopefully, I will be going this weekend and will be able to get a bunch done!! icon_lol.gif

MosMom Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 1:58pm
post #8 of 17

I found something for my family members that is really cheap and I think very cool.

You can spell out anything and choose interesting photographs that look like the letters. I think it is so cool. I am purchasing them unframed and will frame them myself. It won't be very hard since each picture is a 4X6. There are a few ways I can do it.

Each picture is just $4.

punkinpie Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 3:00pm
post #9 of 17

Great thread.

I also buy all of my wrapping paper and ribbon in Jan/Feb when its 75 - 90% off.

This year I am giving more family oriented gifts like dinner and a movie.
Gift cards for dinner and a movie. I'm going to package it fun with a little note about spending time with family. It will be less expensive than doing all individual gifts (for me anyway).

I'm also going to do a family game night theme where I give a game, and a $10 gift card for the grocery store so they can buy snacks.

dinas27 Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 3:00pm
post #10 of 17

Great ideas - I like the frozen egg noodle idea. I was thinking about making some homemade pasta baskets for hubby's family this year - they don't really do gifts but I like to give a little something. Last year I made baskets of homemade mini bread loaves. Lots of savory breads because you always get too much sweet stuff at the holidays.

As our family gets a little bigger with the mariages - myself, my brothers and our spouses draw names. $30-35 and you only have to buy for one person.

A friend at work has a interesting idea in her family. They used to be responsible for one person's stocking and buying a gift. Now they each purchase 5 things for each person and have a 'big' stocking. so each person ends up with 20 gifts in their stocking.

michellenj Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 5:56pm
post #11 of 17

My family has stopped buying for anyone except the great-grandparents and the little kids. It takes a lot of the stress away, not having to guess the size/likes of certain inlaws and cousins you don't really know that well.

Last year I sent Omaha Steaks to my IL's and dh's siblings, and it was so much easier and cheaper than shopping, wrapping, then shipping gifts.

indydebi Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 11:03pm
post #12 of 17
Originally Posted by punkinpie

This year I am giving more family oriented gifts like dinner and a movie.
Gift cards for dinner and a movie. I'm going to package it fun with a little note about spending time with family. It will be less expensive than doing all individual gifts (for me anyway).

For a work gift exchange one year, I gave a basket with a Blockbuster gift certificate, 3 bags of microwave popcorn, a box of chocolate covered raisins, 2 cans of soda and 3 juice boxes (the guy had 3 kids and was a real family oriented type of guy).

Other ideas I've seen are game baskets. You can get small games at the dollar store, such as a desk of cards, hand-held solitaire, small checkers/chess set, etc.

shanzah67 Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 11:23pm
post #13 of 17

For adults, I'm going to make some of my gifts this "pamper me baskets" for the ladies and candy or bread/food baskets for others.

michellenj Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 11:24pm
post #14 of 17

Last night I saw the full size Yankee Candles in holiday scents at Ross for $6.00 and bought all they had. I figured that teachers and last minute people would appreciate them. If no opportunity arises where I need them, I love Yankee Candles!

shanzah67 Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 11:28pm
post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by michellenj

Last night I saw the full size Yankee Candles in holiday scents at Ross for $6.00 and bought all they had. I figured that teachers and last minute people would appreciate them. If no opportunity arises where I need them, I love Yankee Candles!

Full size????? icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif for $6.00! Lucky you! I would have wiped them out too! icon_biggrin.gif

mo_like_it Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 4:17am
post #16 of 17

I just heard about a website that offers free shipping codes for over 850 major on-line stores. Check out Don't forget that a lot of on-line purchases are tax free too! We're penny pinchers in this household! icon_smile.gif I am also going to try out an idea I saw here on CC earlier in the year, using disposable piping bags and hot chocolate mix. Can't remember who I need to credit at the moment, but there were several photos of them. They were very cute and inexpensive!

Chippi Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 5:31am
post #17 of 17

Michelle our Ross's here also had the Yankee candles. I bought a few of them. Ross's really has some awesome prices on things for christmas you just have to be there when they unload. I had just bought a really nice cast iron yankee candle holder with hearts on both sides at a garage sale for 10 cents! It looked brand new. The lady told me it was for yankee candles. That new yankee candle fit perfectly in there! icon_smile.gif

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