Homestead Hints: A Homesteaders Holiday Budget

by Merissa on October 14, 2011

in Homestead Hints

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It's inevitable that we start thinking about the holidays as we get closer to the holiday season. Since it's just me and the hubby we don't plan for big holidays, we usually just head over to my family's house(because I have younger siblings) and celebrate with them.

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Even though we don't plan big parties we still do have get-togethers, eat more food than normal with friends and family around, do more decorating, and have more activities than we regularly do. All of these things can really add up and with the rising costs of everything, it's enough to make you want to throw your budget out the door because it's not working.

The key to having a good budget to get you through the holidays is careful planning. These tips don't just apply to those that are homesteading, they apply to everyone! Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. If you plan on having some kind of party, gathering, or even just decorating for each holiday, it might be a good idea to set a spending limit at the beginning of the year per holiday. Maybe you aren't planning on doing anything for Halloween but you still have to budget for candy or decor, write down a budget for that holiday that you think you can get everything with and then stick with it. If you have money leftover after the holiday you can either put that towards another holiday, or into your savings account.

2. If you do plan a party, don't feel like you have to do it all. Make it a potluck and ask friends and family to bring different kinds of dishes with them. It will make for a good variety of foods and you get to spend less time in the kitchen and they have to take their dishes home so less clean up for you!

3. Go easy on the decor. I love to decorate for a holiday no matter if we are having company over or not. I just love decorating. But I try and keep my decorating budget to a minimum. I shop last years holiday clearance to get decor for the next year. I don't think I've ever bought some decor for a holiday that was full price. Even though I love decorating, it's not a have-to-do thing so I know that I shouldn't spend alot on it.

4.  Buy your gifts ahead of time. Don't spend full price if you don't absolutely have to. Make what you can. Shop clearance throughout the year. Utilize extra sources of “income” to help pay for gifts such as referral bonuses, Swagbucks dollars, survey dollars. Every $5 and $10 helps and takes off from the total amount that you ultimately spend.

5. Find activities that are free or cost very little. Often around holidays you can find all kinds of things to do that are free or almost free. Take advantage of these things! When I was little one of my favorite things to do on Christmas Eve was get in the car with my family and drive around and look at all the pretty Christmas lights around town, then we would come home and play board games all evening. The only cost involved with the night was the little bit of gas to drive around town. One, if not the best part of the holidays, is being able to be with family, don't forget that.

How do you save on holiday expenses?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Charity October 17, 2011 at 8:38 am

This year, I’m trying to make things for the family or rather give significant and meaningful gifts rather than quantity. Recently, I bought my daughter (for her allowance) a 1930s vintage prarie dress ($6.00) and just this weekend found a full girl’s 1910 slip ($8.00). She has several bonnets she wears outside to protect her face from the sun and she has some black boots. She dressed up in all these clothes and we took pictures by our old fence and with the chickens in her “little house on the praire” clothes. My sister loves seeing her dress up and we are going to get a collage made up at CVS with my extra bucks and get a nice frame at kohls (50% off and i’ll give her the perfect gift for about $10.00. I’m going more this route this year and it makes for more signficant gifts.

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2 Merissa October 17, 2011 at 8:54 am

That sounds so cute! Where did you find the clothes so cheap?

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3 Charity October 17, 2011 at 8:38 am

This year, I’m trying to make things for the family or rather give significant and meaningful gifts rather than quantity. Recently, I bought my daughter (for her allowance) a 1930s vintage prarie dress ($6.00) and just this weekend found a full girl’s 1910 slip ($8.00). She has several bonnets she wears outside to protect her face from the sun and she has some black boots. She dressed up in all these clothes and we took pictures by our old fence and with the chickens in her “little house on the praire” clothes. My sister loves seeing her dress up and we are going to get a collage made up at CVS with my extra bucks and get a nice frame at kohls (50% off and i’ll give her the perfect gift for about $10.00. I’m going more this route this year and it makes for more signficant gifts.

Reply

4 Merissa October 17, 2011 at 8:54 am

That sounds so cute! Where did you find the clothes so cheap?

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5 Charity October 18, 2011 at 9:50 am

Hi Merissa. I found the clothes at antique shops – can you believe it?? Of all places to find clothes, I found them there. And they were on sale too!! I love going to antique shops – because you can negotiate prices. Since I shop there quite frequently, I know what to pay and what not to pay and I often negotiate. Somtimes people don’t think antique shops offer good deals, but they do. Now more than ever with the economy, I’ve noticed antique shops around here are offering sales and one shop here that is my favorite is having a huge holiday open house with up to 50% off. I recommend trying these places. Another great place I go to (this is what they call them around here) is “Upscale Consignments”. They are shops that are extremely particular on the items they get and they only get them from particular brand names (usually only high end brands). One shop here I went to last week I got a J Jill shirt, Eddie Bauershirt , Ann Taylor Loft linen white shirt (gorgeous), pair of Candies dress shoes for my daughter, and capris from the Gap for my daughter, and a linen jacket (at the consignment shop it was still at $25.00 (I think the linen jacket retailed for almost $95.00 originally new) but they were having summer clearance and marked it down to $5.00!), and a gorgeous lamp. All these items totaled $31.52! I couldn’t believe it!! I’m going to get some Christmas gifts there too!

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6 Merissa October 18, 2011 at 9:57 am

I love antique shops too. I haven’t noticed too many sales at the local ones here but you are right, prices are usually negotiable. I found a very pretty antique chest that we negotiated down to $45. It has pressed metal and it looks perfect in my living room. I use it to store extra blankets:)

Reply

7 Charity October 18, 2011 at 9:50 am

Hi Merissa. I found the clothes at antique shops – can you believe it?? Of all places to find clothes, I found them there. And they were on sale too!! I love going to antique shops – because you can negotiate prices. Since I shop there quite frequently, I know what to pay and what not to pay and I often negotiate. Somtimes people don’t think antique shops offer good deals, but they do. Now more than ever with the economy, I’ve noticed antique shops around here are offering sales and one shop here that is my favorite is having a huge holiday open house with up to 50% off. I recommend trying these places. Another great place I go to (this is what they call them around here) is “Upscale Consignments”. They are shops that are extremely particular on the items they get and they only get them from particular brand names (usually only high end brands). One shop here I went to last week I got a J Jill shirt, Eddie Bauershirt , Ann Taylor Loft linen white shirt (gorgeous), pair of Candies dress shoes for my daughter, and capris from the Gap for my daughter, and a linen jacket (at the consignment shop it was still at $25.00 (I think the linen jacket retailed for almost $95.00 originally new) but they were having summer clearance and marked it down to $5.00!), and a gorgeous lamp. All these items totaled $31.52! I couldn’t believe it!! I’m going to get some Christmas gifts there too!

Reply

8 Merissa October 18, 2011 at 9:57 am

I love antique shops too. I haven’t noticed too many sales at the local ones here but you are right, prices are usually negotiable. I found a very pretty antique chest that we negotiated down to $45. It has pressed metal and it looks perfect in my living room. I use it to store extra blankets:)

Reply

9 Lynette May 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I love to decorate at Christmas time as well. Before the big snows, I collect pinecones – little and big, lots of pine and hemlock, white birch that I find on the ground, various fungi and mosses, berries, old horseshoes and bottles. It is amazing what you can find for nothing except your time. For some sparkle I mix in glass and silver stars and icicles around my rusty treasures.

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10 Sabrina June 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm

One thing I think is cool to do is pick a time in history and decorate and give gifts as they would have in the time period…. you can even dress the part and get the whole family in on it… you can add some modern touches if you like but it is just a way to celebrate a holiday without all the commercial traits and cost…most just feel the need to buy numerous gifts for someone…

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11 Heidi November 2, 2013 at 4:43 am

I have 12 children from 6 years old to 34 years old, and 6 grandchildren. I am only doing “gifts” for the kids under 20. My daughter, 6, wants a piano. I mentioned that to a friend who said she has a Yamaha keyboard that her family no longer uses and she would be willing to GIVE it to us! Score! My 9 year old wants an IPod. I had gotten one for his sister for her birthday at a pawn shop. I mentioned it to his aunt who said she had 5 that her kids no longer use because they have smart phones now. She said she would give me the best of the lot. Score!
The older kids will be giving me a list of their favorite meals and I will make each of them a frozen dinner to take home, as well as a tin of cookies. I also get my boys in their 20s AAA cards. For the grandchildren my husband is making wooden sandbox backhoes, and enclosed kitchen counter stools.
I am really looking forward to this Christmas.

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12 Stephanie November 26, 2013 at 8:49 am

My husband and I have 3 grandchildren that live in North Dakota and as some may well know, it stays cold there longer than most other places. All 3 children love to draw and paint and one of their favorite activities is to use chalk on the sidewalks in the warm weather… and warm it is not in January, February and most of March! My husband and I are making them their own “sidewalks” with sheets of plywood and chalkboard paint plus chalks in their favorite colors! Now they can play any time of year!

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13 Emily December 3, 2013 at 11:46 am

This year besides buying a few people store bought gifts, I purchased a soap-making kit. Since I’ve got plenty of essential oils from a few years ago, I’ll be making batches of handmade, hand-scented soap for family and friends. Every year I also can dill green beans because everyone loves them. At this minute I’m making my first ever batch of orange marmalade, also to be gifts. It’s fun and any of these projects can be done all year, and it’s pretty cheap. Who doesn’t love hand-made gifts?

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14 Lois March 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I so have enjoyed reading all the wonderful homemade gift ideas. I too make my own gifts for Christmas and birthdays. Last year I crocheted scarves, gloves for the women. Stuffed toys for the grandchildren. This year I already have a crochet tea set for my granddaughter. I felt we needed to get back to the true meaning of Christmas and not the materialistic ideas that society puts upon us. I also love yard sales and thrift shops; sometimes you can find brand new items for a little bit of nothing.

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15 tracy April 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Don’t forget frugal wrapping! One year all my presents were wrapped in brown grocery store sacks and tied with pretty red ribbons I purchased at a garage sale. It really looked like a Homestead Christmas!

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16 Sandy November 21, 2014 at 10:52 am

Hi Marissa,
Everyone has great ideas for gifts for the holidays to save money and share in a meaningful way. I have one more idea to save time and money. If you live in an area where it’s freezing or below, just before a holiday, cook up a bunch of food that will freeze well. Put it in an ice chest and store it in the garage or in a place where animals and varmits won’t get to it. The day before the holiday guests start arriving, you won’t be stressed because you put up so much of the goodies already. You can just enjoy the fun !
Sandy

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