‘Tis the season to give, and what a wonderful time it is. But once you buy presents for all your loved ones, you remember you need wrapping paper, new decorations, groceries for Christmas dinner … the list goes on and on. You love doing all these things, but the costs certainly start to stack up. Good news: We have tips that can help you save money while still getting all your holiday essentials. Check out these ideas from pros and get yourself a hot chocolate with the cash you’re saving — you deserve it.
Nab a fresh tree on a discount.
“When it comes to getting the best price on a Christmas tree, procrastination may work in your favor. The key: Look for tree lots that frequently restock and ask them when they expect their end-of-season window to fall (usually a week and a half before Christmas) — shop for your tree then. Lot owners I’ve spoken to say they’re willing to sell trees for up to 60 percent off during that time frame rather than have to take a total loss on the tree a week later.”
— Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love, high-tech lawn care solutions
Grab a deal on gift wrap.
“It may seem like a cheaper purchase, but the cost of gift wrap adds up — especially when wrapping irregular-sized or super-large gifts. That’s why I buy holiday tablecloths from the dollar store instead. They have festive prints and usually measure 50 inches by 80 inches or 108 inches (the average roll of heavyweight gift wrap is about 30 inches by 96 inches). The proportions are similar, but gift wrap costs three times as much at $4 or more per roll. This way, you can wrap up any sized item for a whole lot less.”
—Gabby James, founder of lifestyle blog GabbyJames.com
Snag a ham for less.
“You probably already know about your supermarket’s holiday special: Spend $400 at their store within a certain time and get a ham for free. It’s a great deal if you’re having lots of company and plan to spend that much anyway. But for those of us having smaller gatherings, it’s not. So I always search for stores that offer holiday meat for the least amount. For example, last year, discount grocer Aldi sold spiral sliced ham for $1.99 a pound, just $20 for a 10-pound ham — enough to feed our family of six with leftovers. Plus, Aldi buys most of its meat from regional farms, so the cheaper price is reflective of not having to ship it hundreds of miles, and not because the meat is inferior.”
—Eric Samuelson, food blogger at EatLikeNoOne.com
Discover last-minute presents.
“This time of year, I always shop the Bath & Body Works annual candle sale the first weekend in December, when you can snap up candles that retail for $26.50 for about $8 each. I buy them to boost the holiday scents around the house and to have them to give as last-minute gifts. Best of all, the brand just launched a loyalty app (available for iPhone on the App Store and for Android on Google Play) that offers points for purchases, where you can score an item worth up to $16.50 for free for every $100 spent. Also available on the app? Any coupons and rewards the store offers, like 40 percent off everything on the website or $10 off a $30 purchase in-store.”
—Kasey DeWitt, grandmother of six, San Antonio, TX
Score fancy dishware.
“Looking to elevate your holiday tablescape with decorative dishes but don’t want to pay department store prices? You’re in luck: You can snag deep discounts on beautiful dishware at home stores like Lowe’s and The Home Depot to create an elegant table sans the high cost. One example: The Home Depot offers a four-piece dish set decorated with Christmas holly for under $30! (Buy from The Home Depot, $26.64.)
—Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst for DealNews.com
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.