More Ways to Save During the Holidays

Last week I wrote about re-gifting as a cost saving measure as well as a way to help our environment by reducing waste. Today I will discuss some other ways to help keep costs down over the holiday season.

One of my pet peeves is buying things over and over. I am a new home owner and the first year we bought Christmas decorations, I thought it was fun and necessary. The second year that we bought the exact same decorations..I was less than pleased but I noticed a few things that we didn’t have to buy again.

LED Christmas lights are one of those. LED lights area great step towards energy conservation as well as a great way to save money. LED lights create light simply by moving electrons in a semiconductor so there is nothing that can actually burn out. That said, they last extremely long before they break and in most cases it will be the other points of failure that give before the LED bulbs actually stop working such as the fixture the bulb sits in or the electrical cord itself. LED lights do cost a bit more initially, but they are now old news and the price is very comparable to regular Christmas light strands and they last much longer. Some people like the look of the old lights and don’t care for the extreme bright glow of the LED lights, but that is all opinion. My opinion is, I like the glow of green coming from my wallet more than I care about the color of the lights on my house 🙂

After the first year in which we bought some LED lights and some regular lights, and having all the regular light strands no longer work the next Christmas, I thought that maybe the way we were storing the lights had effected how long they last. The first year we stored the lights outside in a shed, but they were just in a plastic bag and not too protected from the extreme cold where we live. After realizing this, we stored the lights in a more protective tote with some other decorations and this year when we got them out, they were all working so the cold does effect the lights life when they are in storage.

Other traditional decorations are pretty long lasting but something I wasn’t too happy about when I first started getting decorations for our tree was that the glass balls that are very traditional and fun have those detachable metal hooks to hang on the tree. When you buy those balls, they don’t always come with the hooks and those hooks are also pretty easy to lose. Instead of buying new hooks for the balls and any other decorations that didn’t have hooks, we used paperclips to hang decorations on our tree. Unless you look closely, you won’t be able to tell the difference and paperclips are readily available in most homes as well as most offices 🙂

A few more tips to save money during the holidays include diluting Egg Nog with milk to make it less potent and last longer. My family always did this because it was just too strong on it’s own, but it really makes that quart of Egg Nog go a long way. After the season is over, don’t forget to hit all the stores to pick up the decorations and clothing on clearance. And finally, next year remember to first budget, then shop early and often for Christmas gifts so that when Christmas comes, it won’t feel like so much money is being spent all at once but as a caution, don’t forget things you bought early in the year if they were meant for Christmas.

Image by my wife 🙂

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10 People have left comments on this post

» Paul @ FiscalGeekNo Gravatar said: { Dec 15, 2009 - 10:12:42 }

I switched to buying commercial grade lights and yes they cost more but they work year after year. I’ve only had one strand out of about 25 fail in the last 2 years. I had to throw away almost all of my $1.99 strands from Target though even after a year.
.-= Paul @ FiscalGeek´s last blog ..You Need a Budget (YNAB) 3.0 Personal Finance Software Review =-.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Paul, great idea. I never thought of using commercial grade lights, I will have to look into that. It’s funny, the lights we usually throw away yearly and the $2 Target lights too 🙂

» AmandaNo Gravatar said: { Dec 15, 2009 - 10:12:46 }

All very good advice. We started a 3-gift rule this year and will be implementing it from now on. We buy 3 gifts, one in each of the following categories: something you want, something you need, something to read. This way, we don’t get out of control with spending.

Also, we started doing homemade gifts only for our extended families, and that seems to have helped immensely as well.
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Mr. Pine =-.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Amanda, that is an excellent suggestion. We have already purchased most of our gifts but try to keep them in the learning/child development category for our kids and don’t get any of the noisy, pointless toys. I usually make homemade gifts for work people and just about anyone I can because it certainly keeps costs down.

» CraigNo Gravatar said: { Dec 15, 2009 - 12:12:08 }

LED lights can help save on the electricity bill if you have tons of lights you leave on all day long.
.-= Craig´s last blog ..Book Giveaway: Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel =-.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Craig, they certainly can. I know our bill goes down each year as we replace the traditional lights with LEDs.

» AmandaNo Gravatar said: { Dec 18, 2009 - 10:12:34 }

Just thought of something else. With our lights, we leave them on for probably a total of about 5 hours a day. We turn them on when it’s almost dark and then turn them off after we go to bed. After all, we’re asleep and so are most people, so why do we need all the lights on? That should help cut down on the electricity bill as well.
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Frog Girl =-.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Amanda, that is a great idea. You can also pick up a decent electrical timer pretty cheap and just have them on a revolving timer so you don’t chance forgetting to turn them off. This is something I plan to do next year.

» AmandaNo Gravatar said: { Dec 18, 2009 - 10:12:55 }

I meant before we go to bed, geesh!
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Frog Girl =-.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Amanda, 🙂 I think we all understood but your comment reminded me of automatic light timers haha

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