November and December are two of my favorite months of the year as they each have one of my two favorite holidays- Thanksgiving and Christmas. The decorations, the food, the parties, dressing up, decorating the tree, baking, the smells, the colors, I love ALL of it. But, let’s face it, the holidays can be pretty hard on us financially. All the things we love about the holidays can add up to a pretty hefty bill by the end of the year, and there is nothing worse to dampen the holiday spirit than to be worried about how to pay for it all. That’s why I have put together this special series on how to get through the holidays without breaking the bank.
First let’s talk about decorations. If you are anything like me you imagine that the Pottery Barn catalog should just come to life in my living room and every single thing in the house would be themed for whatever holiday you are currently celebrating. However beautiful that would be, it is also extremely unrealistic unless you have $10,000 to spend on holiday decorations this year. My budget, for Thanksgiving and Christmas combined is about $300. Here are some tips and ideas I will be using this Holiday season to decorate our house along with photos of how it came out.
- Utilize items found in your own backyard (or outdoors in general)
- Frame Pressed Leaves
- Make a vase with twigs and an empty can or jar
- Collect fallen pine cones and make a guilded pine cone garland, this would also work with leaves and you could easily just use glitter or paint instead of gold leaf.
- Add fall or Christmas themed items to a large vase, lantern, or hurricane bowl such as mini pumpkins, pine cones, leaves, twigs, cinnamon sticks, etc around a candle.
- Get to couponing
- Download the Michael’s app for daily and weekly coupons such as 40% off any one regular priced item. Sign up for their mailing list and get a coupon for 20% off your entire purchase including already discounted items.
- Go to Raise.com and buy a Michael’s gift card at a discount (Some are up to 20% off). Once it comes in the mail, print our your coupons and you have some major savings. I was able to add a lot of extra detail to my wedding using this method. For example, I bought a $200 gift card for $160. I then used the 20% entire purchase including sale items. This made my $160 go a very long way towards decorations.
- Things will go on sale after the holiday is over, so even though it won’t help you this season, it will be a huge help for next year- especially if you use the methods above for extra savings.
- Buy items that can be used for multiple seasons. For example I chose mixed metallics as my color theme for decorating because items such as vases, deer statues, the guilded pine cones above, charger plates and platters, and candle holders can easily be used for both fall and Christmas decor. Some of those silver items can even be used for Easter in the spring. A change of ribbon from burnt orange to red is all that is needed to take your wreath from fall to winter.
- Think of ways to creatively use everyday items you already own.
- Use your cake stand and some candles to create this center piece
- Place pine cones and leaves in an upside down wine glass and put a candle on top, swap the leaves for ornaments for Christmas
- Wrap a ribbon and tie a bow around your vase to transform it.
- Make a garland out of paper snowflakes, cover them in white glitter to really make a statement.
- Lay out all the things you already have first, see where you can fill in with small make shift items like I’ve mentioned above and try to save your money to use on bigger attention grabbing statement pieces like a Christmas tree or lights, a large wreath, or a Santa Claus.
We hosted the annual Friendsgiving dinner this year and I really wanted to make our place look festive and nice for when everyone came over. This is easier said than done though when you have a budget of $100 and you don’t even have all the furniture you want in the house yet. But I made it work, and not only did it turn out awesome, but I can also use several of the items for Christmas too like the deer pillows and the fur pillow, the pinecones and deer antler, and the ivy can be placed in a different pot. The fall “flowers” that I got were all dried so if I am gentle with them and store them right I may be able to use them again next year. I went ahead and bought real instead of fake because I hated how fake the fake ones looked. Duh, right? I just got a bundle of wheat, a bundle of cattails, and a bundle of oak leaves and made my own arrangement. The centerpiece is a wooden box, a candle, and cuttings from my olive tree, plum and some flowering bush in the backyard- that’s utilizing what you already have and bringing the outdoors in (along with a little spider that tried to join us for dessert, oops). Check out my decorating skills on a budget below. Full list of purchased items: 2 deer pillows, 1 fur pillow, fall flowers, a pumpkin, an acorn squash, silver deer antlers, 1 bronze colored fake pumpkin, and 10 silver charger plates. Total on decorations (excluding the edible items). $112.67. A little over budget but I am totally okay with that because the pillows, the antler, and the charger plates can be used for Christmas too.
If you have any ideas or tips you have tried comment below so I can share with others.