Thursday, December 3, 2009

10 Weird Ways to Save Money this Christmas

10 Weird Ways to Save Money this Christmas
Written by Kathryn on December 2, 2009

December tends to be an expensive month. We have to travel out of town to see our relatives. We have to buy gifts for people. We have to set up decorations in our home, buy wine for parties that we’re supposed to go to and pick up something to bring to the Christmas party at work. Speaking of work, many of us have to take vacations or cut back on some hours and end up losing some of our income in December as well. It’s a tough time of year financially which is why so many of us try to find ways to save money during this season. There are a lot of great smart tips out there for saving money on everything during this time of year. There are also some suggestions that will save you money but they’re a bit odd, cheap or just off-the-wall. If you’re on a tight budget and need to consider some extreme money-saving this Christmas then check out these ten weird ways to save money during the holidays:

1.Pretend to be out of town during the holidays. Lie to everyone in your life and say that you’re going out of town for the holidays. This gets you out of the seemingly obligatory parties and events that end up costing you money during the Christmas season. Additionally, it allows you to avoid spending any money on Christmas presents until after the holiday is over. There are some great post-Christmas sales on everything from gift items to wrapping paper so you can buy late and get a great deal. You might even find that you get a lot of gifts that can be immediately re-gifted. This is a cheap way to go for Christmas and it’s not really great to lie to your loved ones but it will result in Christmas bargains if that’s what you’re trying to find.

2.Go “lost and found” shopping to get gifts for others. Head to a big mall that has a lot of department stores. Go into each one and head straight for the customer service section. Tell them that you think you lost a pair of sunglasses, a scarf, a purse, a wallet or a keyring. These are items that people commonly lose in public places. Most stores will hand you a “lost and found” box so you can pick out the item that belongs to you. Take the one that looks like it’s in the best condition. Wrap it up and give it as a gift. This method of extreme money saving is definitely a cheap thing to do but it’s one option for weird holiday savings.

3.Get all of this year’s gifts for free. There are more appropriate ways to get free gifts for people than to steal them from the “lost and found”. Use sites like Freecycle and Craigslist to look for items that are being given away for free. Take a few days to drive around and load up on this free stuff. Then figure out who to give what from your free collection this year. Make it a challenge to yourself to try to get every single gift for free this Christmas.

4.Take snacks home with you from every holiday party. Every single holiday party that you’ll attend this year is going to have plenty of food leftover at the end of the night. Bring a small container of Tupperware with you in a gift bag or purse. When everyone’s busy paying attention to something else, fill it up with some food off of the table. Eat it for lunch or snacks the following day and save on your own grocery shopping this holiday season.

5.Stay cold this Christmas. One of the biggest home expenses during the winter season is the heating bill. Some families are taking their saving to an extreme by turning off their heat this winter. Stay warm by building a fire in the fireplace, layering up your clothes and having everyone sleep together in the same room to generate body heat during the night. You can pretend that you’re celebrating the holidays in an old-fashioned manner and celebrate accordingly.

6.Don’t bother getting dressed. If you do want to keep your home heated this winter then take advantage of that fact and don’t bother getting dressed all holiday long. Put on your pajamas and stay in them all season. If you live alone or with just a spouse then hang out in the buff. This allows you to avoid all of the costs that go into washing your clothes. If you’re just staying home for the holidays anyway then why not?

7.Bake cookies on your car. Did you know that you can use the heat from your car to do some holiday baking this year? You will spend a little less than usual because you won’t be using the gas or electric stove in your own house. Learn more.

8.Save gift wrap, tissue paper and seasonal newspapers. You are going to get a lot of paper this holiday season whether it’s in the form of the wrapping that comes off of the gifts that you receive or in the form of junk mail advertising holiday savings offers. Save all of this paper and use it for your daily activities. It can be used as scrap paper to write notes on, craft paper for making homemade journals or re-used as wrapping paper. Old newspaper and junk mail can even be used as toilet paper if you want to get really wacky with your holiday savings!

9.Invite people to rent out a room in your house for Christmas. You can rent out extra rooms to travelers who are visiting your area. Hosting during Christmas isn’t something most people do because they feel weird having strangers in their homes during the holidays. Open up your heart and your home to these people and put a little bit of money in your pocket at the same time.

10.Skip Christmas altogether. Most people think that they have to celebrate Christmas because it’s a tradition. The truth is that you don’t have to do any of the things associated with Christmas if you don’t want to. Tell the extended family that you’ll visit sometime during the year when it’s cheaper to travel to see them. Let friends and others know that you don’t want to exchange gifts this year. This can seem extreme to people who are used to celebrating Christmas but it’s actually not all that difficult to give it up if you want to try.

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