How To Save Money During The Holidays
With December being well and truly on its way, this means the Holidays are more or less around the corner. For some this could be very exciting news and for others, this means exams, final projects, and of course everybody’s favourite, deciding whether or not you want to eat or buy gifts for your friends and family. So to help those of us in the second group, I have compiled what I believe are helpful tips and tricks to save you a bit of money this holiday season.
The first tip I have is more on the time-consuming side and therefore not ideal for exam period. However, if you finish exams closer to the start, you have a fair amount of time off before the holidays. This tip is to make gifts, whether you make sweet and savoury treats, home decor, or any manner of other gifts you can find on the internet, which will help you cut the costs of the holidays.
My go-to homemade gifts for friends and family tend to be homemade chocolates, jams, jars of flavoured olives, or homemade hot chocolate powder and marshmallows (Bailey’s is a good holiday addition to the marshmallows).
The beauty about homemade hot chocolate powder is how few things you need for it and all the variations you can create. I use dried milk powder, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and white sugar (amounts vary on personal preference and how much you want to make). I then throw all of it into a food processor and let her rip. Once you do this you can add peppermint, orange zest, cinnamon, or anything else to make it seem like you tried harder than you really did. YouTube and Pinterest will be your best friends if you decide to embark on this money saving endeavour.
Splitting the cost
If you have siblings, this may be the only time of year where they might actually come in handy. My brother and I usually split the cost of our parent’s gifts so it will not be as much money out of our own pockets.
This year we also decided to combine our parents’ gifts together and make them a quality gift basket full of things they can both enjoy. That way they can have a date night and we get to keep a little more of our hard earned cash.
When it comes to actually buying the gifts, I am usually the one in charge of picking what we should buy then actually going out and buying it. This means I get to hang out on public transit and brave the holiday shopping madness that ensues around this time of year.
To make up for this inconvenience, I like to tack on what I call “the service tax.” This means when I tally up the final cost of the gift to figure out how much my brother owes me I add a little bit extra on his half… say about $10, for all the trouble and retirees I had to fight off (Mum, if you’re reading this please don’t tell him… I have a really good gig going on here and it would be great if it continued).
Another tip is to check out farmers markets, craft fairs, and church bazaars which are hosted all around Victoria this time of year. If you don’t mind fighting off retirees that make snide comments about the fact that your hair is pink (she pulled it and said it was “interesting”, I just smiled because old ladies scare me) or the fact that you have a nose ring, then these places are a good option because you can find gifts for fairly reasonable prices.
These types of events have all the baked goods you could imagine, more knitting than your Nan has hidden in her basement, as well as all the handmade gifts you could potentially pass off as making yourself.
You can buy holiday related ornaments or home decor that your mum is obligated to display once a year, knitted children’s hats to force your pets to wear (my bunny gets to wear build-a-bear clothing), crocheted dish scrubbers for the roommate that never does their dishes (warning: this may be considered passive aggressive), or all the baked goods you can take credit for because baking takes effort and it’s easier to buy it from someone else and then take credit.
The last quick tip is for those of you living in residence and have way too much money left on your OneCard like I did last year. I used my leftover money to buy around a hundred chocolate bars. I do not recommend doing this in one go because I bought about thirty during one trip and the lovely lady scanning all the chocolate bars informed me there were counselling services on campus.
I don’t know if she thought I was having a breakdown and eating my feelings or if it was exam period and she was informing everyone of the counselling services. But either way, my brother received a hundred gift wrapped chocolate bars last year because I was procrastinating studying for finals. Also, I am definitely the type of person they write math problems about for elementary school textbooks.
But you know what else is a great gift with none of the hassle on your part… a gift card, to say I love you but I didn’t actually want to put in the effort.
The only downside of this is they know exactly how much you spent on them and therefore how much you love them because the only way to show true love during the holiday season is to spend money.