Don't let the holidays break your bank!!
It's hard to believe we are only 48 days away from Christmas (yes I counted) and 35 days until Hanukkah! I tend to let the holidays overwhelm me because I want to shop for everyone but I don't want to break my bank. With a baby and a lot more family members, friends, and people I work with, money can go fast!
I have found a few fun ways to save and even make a buck or two to add to the holiday budget.
Make Saving Fun!
I'm not a great saver but if I turn it into a game, it becomes easier and exciting. Watching the holiday bank fund grow can be a whole lot of fun! Grab yourself a cute box or rustic barrel from Michaels and decorate it. Or if you don't have time, just write "Holiday Fund" on the front. If you can't get out to grab a box or barrel you can use a large mason jar! Keep it in your closet in a safe spot where you won't be tempted to take the cash out of it!
Starbucks can wait!
First things first, if you are anything like me, I love to treat myself to a Starbucks almost every single day. Um, I have a Starbucks addiction for sure.
Sometimes I do two rounds depending on my energy level and I always get a medium or large. You guys, I did the math, and if I were to drink my own coffee at home which would cost me roughly 20 dollars (that includes half and half and two bags of coffee) just for the month of November and allow myself a Starbucks only a few times a week and get a small instead of a large, I'm saving over $113 for the entire month. You can add $4.75 to your fun savings box every day instead of giving your local Starbucks the cash! Imagine if you AND your significant other both did this together! That would be another $113. Not to mention, you won't be getting all that sugar either, I love the pumpkin spice latte that's loaded with extra sugar so I'm much healthier for the month of November!
Not a coffee drinker? You can still play this game! Add three or four bucks to your jar every day for the month of November to give yourself a little extra holiday spending cash! You are already ahead of the game by not being a Starbucks addict!
There are so many ways to make yummy coffee & tea drinks from home. Here is one I found for you to try! Add some cute cinnamon sticks for more flavor and decor to feel like you are still getting your special holiday drink! I found this recipe from Faith Durandi!
How To Make a Latte Without an Espresso Machine
Makes 1 drink
What You Need
Espresso or strongly brewed coffee from an Aeropress
2% or nonfat milk
Cocoa powder, to garnish
Wide, shallow coffee cup
Jar with lid
- Make your espresso or strongly brewed coffee: As mentioned in the notes above, any strongly brewed espresso from a home espresso maker or a capsule machine like a Nespresso will do. Or use strongly brewed coffee from an Aeropress, not diluted with any water. I usually start with about 1/3 cup espresso, but this is up to you.
- Froth the milk: Pour milk into the jar. Fill no more than halfway. Screw the lid on tightly, and shake the jar as hard as you can until the milk is frothy and has roughly doubled in volume, 30 to 60 seconds.
- Microwave the milk: Take the lid off the jar and microwave uncovered for 30 seconds. The foam will rise to the top of the milk and the heat from the microwave will help stabilize it.
- Pour warm milk into the espresso: Pour the espresso or coffee into a wide, shallow coffee cup. Use a large spoon to hold back the milk foam, and pour as much warm milk as you would like into the espresso.
- Add foam: Spoon as much milk foam as you would like onto your latte (or perhaps it's a cappuccino at this point!). Garnish, if desired, with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or nutmeg on top of the foam. Sip immediately!
- Flavoring the latte: If you want a sweetened or flavored latte, stir in some syrup with the warm milk, before adding the foam.
- Flavoring ideas: You can add a teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract, or a sweetened flavored syrup such as this one: Homemade Caramel Syrup for Your Coffee. Maple syrup is also delicious.
Closet Sale With Friends
Life gets really busy with family and kids, especially during the holidays. What better way to hang out with friends you don't get to see very often than by throwing a holiday closet sale. Tip: Less is more. If you have too many racks of clothes you won't sell as much. It becomes overwhelming and you won't make as much money. Also, only pull clothes from your closet that you know people would buy, save the other stuff for a garage sale. Force yourself to let go of some items that may make you more cash even if it hurts to say goodbye. At least it will be going to someone you know. Make your rack really desirable and price things at a fair cost but not too low! You paid good money for your clothes at one time, they haven't lost their value that much!
Grab a few other friends and throw an at home holiday party and sell your clothes! Put out a cheese plate and some sparkling spiked cider, some of your favorite holiday music, a yummy pumpkin spice candle and celebrate! Even if you only make $100 or $200 that is still a great number to put aside for the holiday budget! You can find my FAVORITE Spiked Sparkling Cider recipe HERE.
Now were at $300 in holiday bank funds and if your significant other participates $400 in holiday bank funds just from our savings at Starbucks and a little at home holiday sale! Whatever you had in mind for your spending budget, you can add this extra cash to it now!! Make the best out of your spending!
Affordable Unique Gifts
It's important to put a budget aside for how much you would like to spend on each friend and family member. Something I never did in the past. I would come home way over budget with tons of gifts that I didn't even know who I bought them for and ended up with major buyers remorse! An organized list with the amount to be spent next to the name is a must!! I always love making fun gift baskets that are filled with items I know my friends and family would use and love. Take mental note when a friend tells you they love something you have in your home or that you are wearing and find them something similar for the holiday! I find it makes the gift more sentimental.
I like to do a lot of my holiday shopping at Home Goods because everything is affordable there and I can put really fun gift baskets together without going over budget!
If you're struggling with getting out of the house to shop and at a loss of ideas, try planting a tree in someones name or naming a star in the sky after a friend. Name a star after someone HERE. Plant a tree in someones name HERE. This may sound weird but it's a unique gift and you don't have to go to the store to do it! You can also do all your shopping from your computer. I like to go to the store in person but with a 3 moth old, most my shopping will be done right here on my couch. Amazon and Nordstrom are wonderful because they have great return policies. Basically every other store known to man can be purchased on line but be sure to look at their return policy if you are buying gifts! Looking for the perfect basket to put all your goodies in? At Home is my favorite place to find affordable baskets. I'm linking them HERE for you!
Some of my favorite goodies to put in a gift basket: A wonderful smelling candle (choose a seasonal scent), yummy hand soap and or lotion, cute little necklace, succulent plant, and a bottle of wine. Some other fun ideas: Pretty playing cards, seeds to grow flowers or herbs, daily meditation book, day planner, soaps, caramel popcorn, lip gloss. Try to keep your basket around $20-40 per basket! This is so easy to do if you are headed to Home Goods. Succulent plants make wonderful centerpieces for the basket and they are very affordable. Find them at Home Depot! The basket you see below has 1 bottle of wine $12, succulent $6, hand soap $4, candle $5, note pad $3, hand lotion $3, basket $6. Total cost for my basket $39
Happy Holiday fun! Check back soon for my favorite gift ideas!
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