How to Decorate for the Holidays on a Budget

How to Decorate for the Holidays on a Budget

Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun and exciting. But it can also be costly if you’re not careful. As you plan for holiday spending, remember to include decorations in your budget.

Below are several ways to reduce the cost of making your home look festive for the holidays.

Shop Around for Deals

Timing is everything when it comes to getting the best price on holiday decorations. You’re likely to see the lowest prices if you start shopping after the holidays are over. It’s never too early to start planning your holiday decorations for next year, with online retailers offering up to 75% off winter merchandise in early spring.

What if you don’t want to wait until after the holidays to buy your decorations? You still have options. Head to your local thrift store to scope out deals. The items you find will be far cheaper than those you’d find in a specialty store, with markdowns up to 40% beyond the initial discount if the item isn’t sold within a set number of days.

Buy Reusable Decorations

When looking for low-cost decorations for the holidays, it pays to adopt a “buy once, use multiple times” mindset. Instead of spending on a cut Christmas tree and fresh wreaths and evergreen garlands each year, purchase reusable, artificial versions. You can pack them away at the end of the holiday season and bring them out again the following year.

Choosing artificial trees wreaths, and garlands has an additional benefit. You can choose unnatural, fun and festive textures and colors, such as a shiny tinsel garland or a flocked tree.

These aren’t the only examples of reusable holiday decor. Instead of using traditional wax candles, purchase LED versions that will never melt away. Shatterproof ornaments are also more durable than traditional glass ornaments. If you have pets or kids at home, going shatterproof is a smart move, both for your finances and for the safety of paws and hands.

Consider Energy Costs

Look beyond the sticker price of the decorations you buy, and consider the cost of ownership. Just as you have multiple options when choosing lightbulbs for your home, you have many options when choosing the type of bulbs used in light strings and other decorations.

For example, although LED lights have a higher upfront cost, they typically use just 25% to 30% of the energy that incandescent lights use. LED lights also last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Another thing to consider is your decorations’ power sources. Some holiday decorations need batteries, others can plug into a wall outlet, and a few are even solar powered. Decorations that run on batteries might have a higher cost of ownership, as you’ll need to replace their power source regularly.

Try Your Hand at DIY Decorations

Going the DIY route when you decorate for the holidays is another way to keep your costs in check. In some instances, you might already have the items you need to make your own holiday decorations. It’s also possible to source some decorating materials and craft supplies for free or for very little money. Making your own holiday decorations can also be a great way to get your kids involved in the process.

Some budget-friendly DIY decorations include:

  • Cut-out paper snowflakes: Fold a sheet of paper into halves or quarters, then cut little shapes into the folded edge. When you unfold the paper, you’ll have a unique snowflake design.
  • Pinecone garland: You can find inexpensive bags of pinecones at a craft store, or you can collect them from outside. Use a piece of ribbon or string to tie the pinecones together, then drape the garland over a tree or across a mantel.
  • Candy cane vase: Clean out an empty glass or plastic jar, such as a peanut butter or pasta sauce jar. Remove the label from the jar, then glue a candy cane to the side of the jar with the hook side facing out. Work around the jar, attaching candy canes until the entire surface is covered. Slip a rubber band over the candy canes to help secure them in place.
  • Sock snowman: Turn your spare socks into cute snowmen for the holidays. Fill a white sock with rice until it’s the size and fullness you want. Twist the top of the sock to close it off, then secure it with a rubber band. Twist the filled part of the sock to create a top and bottom for the snowman. Slip a rubber band around the middle to divide the sock into halves. Once you have the basic snowman shape, decorate it as you’d like with markers, buttons, and pieces of felt.

A Better Holiday Budget

Making decorations yourself or budgeting for them before you buy are healthy financial habits. For more tips on managing your money, visit our WalletWorks page.

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