10 Tips for Saving Money While Decorating for the Holidays

Our house is finally decorated for the holidays, making it hard to leave our little wonderland each morning for work. At night when we get home from work, I love to turn on all the twinkling lights and sit in our cozy home with a fire. There’s nothing more peaceful to me. Since moving into our house in February, we have heavily relied on hand me down decorations, and just recently started sourcing new holiday items of our own. I think the perfect balance of old + new is what creates the best holiday spirit and cheer!

For those new to the holiday decorating game, like we are, I’m here with a PSA: Decorations can get expensive! I won’t forget the mile long receipt from my first holiday run to Target. Needless to say I returned a few things and started investing time and money into the items I truly wanted and needed, rather than those I coveted or saw on display. Let’s not forget about the cost of the electric bill during the month of December due to a surplus of outdoor lights! I wanted to share my top tips for saving money during the holiday season, without giving up on design and style!

  1. Buy Christmas decorations after the holiday season. This one is a no brainer. Nick and I started collecting holiday items at Target on December 26 so we could build a set of decorations we love without breaking the bank. While pickings are slim, you take the time to pick the items you want, and usually for half the price. It’s also a great time to stock up on basics like outdoor lights, garland, and wreaths!
  2. Buy your big ticket items on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Most people are looking for gifts and big ticket items Cyber Weekend, and then forget the about all the Christmas decorations they need. Take advantage of free shipping and a variety of discounts on things like artificial trees (if that’s your thing), tree skirts, centerpieces and outdoor decorations.  This is another chance to start investing in collector’s items such as porcelain winter villages. My mom got a new piece for her collection year after year, and now passed it along to me and my family. (Unfortunately it’s still in boxes this year!)
  3. Use automatic timers and energy saving lights. Using automatic timers is a great way to limit your usage of outdoor lights to peak viewing hours. Plus, many companies now make energy efficient lights that use less energy like LED lights. Plus, they do not get hot like older Christmas lights did, making these safer at home. Additional tip: While not the safest option with kids and pets, use candles to decorate to get an authentic candlelight glimmer, without the electricity cost.
  4. Get crafty and make decorations. I shared my DIY advent calendar, but the possibilities are endless. If you are handy, you can easily make your own centerpieces and ornaments. If you purchase a real Christmas tree, make sure to pick up any remnant clippings and greenery pieces. These items can be used to make a wreath or decorate your front porch.
  5. Pay cash for your holiday decorations. I know in today’s day and age, you get points and rewards for using your credit cards. But one spur of the moment shopping trip can get out of hand and leave you in debt. By bringing a set amount of cash with you when shopping for decorations, you are keeping yourself in line and setting a budget.
  6. Don’t rush Christmas perfection and tradition. Making quick decisions on expensive items can result in disappoint and wasted money. I have been looking for personalized stockings to replace the ones that my mom customized for me as a kid, but just haven’t found something good enough. I know there is something to be said about waiting forever for perfect, but items that you want to pass on for years should not be rushed. Instead, I bought Target ornaments for under $15 on Black Friday until I find something to top it! Write down the items you want to splurge on and spend time researching and price comparing until it is just right.
  7. Shop second hand shops and flea markets. I love hunting for hidden gems. Look for used items that are wood based such as crates, old sleds, and other wooden decorations to refinish for your home. When shopping second hand, I personally recommend staying away from fabric, as you never know what home environments were like before (aka pets, smoking home, insects etc.) This is another chance to find small tables and hutches that you can decorate for the holidays in festive colors of red and green to display holiday cards and decorations. You won’t feel as bad spending $20 on basic end tables that you painted for the holiday season, rather than buying something full price.
  8. Decorate items you already own. Everytime I step into Home Goods, I am blown away by the tall trees and indoor decorations that are so fa-la-la-la festive. But spending $100 on an old wash tin with some greenery and ribbon isn’t in my budget. We threw some lights on our decorative ficus tree to add more holiday cheer to our house. We have a few vases and crates we swap out near our fireplace, and can easily add some pine greenery to make them more appropriate for the holidays. You are now investing in year round decor items, and enhancing them with cheaper holiday craft decor.
  9. Make your own holiday art. I recently created a cute sign for our bathroom and all I needed was a computer, printer, dollar store frame and some creativity. Festive signs are a simple and inexpensive way to add festive decor to your home. PLUS, you won’t feel bad about changing out sayings or designs year after year. If you want to enhance the presentation for a little more money, invest in a holiday inspired frame to recycle each year.
  10. Source items from the Dollar Store and Target Dollar Spot. I could spend hours walking around Pottery Barn and Pier One at their decorations. But I know my wallet will spend long hours trying to pay them off. I typically hunt the Target Dollar spot section for seasonal decor items such as kitchen tea towels, candles, wooden trays, and small trinkets and items that would be perfect for a mantle. Just remember that $1, $3 and $5 items can add up too. Just keep your mind on your budget in these cheaper stores too.

Here’s a peak at our Christmas decor this year, and a look at where we got our items. I tried to keep all of our decorations simple and minimalist, and work up to Santa’s Workshop as I collect more and more. 

(Pillow from Marshall’s – $19.99)

Bowl from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Stockings from Target. Original price $19.99 plus Sugar Paper Gift Tag porcelain initials (org. $3.99)

Trees from Target $13.99 for large, $9.99 for small. Trees are battery operated!

I LOVE how pretty it looks at night!

Candle holder centerpiece: $49.95 at Home Goods. Table Runner $14.99 from Home Goods.

Tea towels from Target Dollar Spot – 2 for $3

Trees from Hobby Lobby 2017. Sign homemade with Dollar Store frame!

Let’s not forget about outside! Basic garland and lights. Wreath from local Christmas tree farm and potted greenery from Home Depot!

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