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Six sustainable ways to save during the holidays

To help you and your budget through these months, here are 6 sustainable tips to help you manage your holiday spending.

Figuring out how to save money during the holidays can save you a lot of hard earned cash and prevent credit card debt. As the holiday season ramps up, consumers are tuning in to store sales to find the best deal on gifts and decorations. The National Retail Federation reports families will spend an average of $670‡ on gifts, food and decorations during the holidays.

In addition to gift and décor purchases, costs for utilities rise during the winter months. This is due in part to the colder temperatures and increased electricity for heating, holiday lights and kitchen appliances.

1. Be mindful when decorating

It’s fun and festive to cover your home from top to bottom with lights and other decorations. But, to save money and support sustainability, you should keep your decorations simple and cut down on plastic products. Consider accent pieces made from natural materials to showcase your holiday spirit.

Set a timer on holiday lights so they can be on at specific times when you can enjoy them. And, be sure your lights are Energy Star® qualified LED lights. These can save you about 70 percent on energy costs and last longer than incandescent lights.

2. Limit the number of gifts you give

How to save money during the holidays is difficult when you want to buy loved ones everything on their wish list, and most families anticipate spending almost $500‡ toward gifts. Consider gifting one item per person or having a gift exchange to save money. When shopping for gifts, look for locally made items or gifts that can be recycled after their use‡.

3. Homemade gifts

Nowadays it takes only seconds to order gifts online, but some of your loved ones may appreciate a special present more than the latest gadget. Set some time on your calendar to make gifts for family and friends with your DIY skills. Whip up a batch up holiday cookies for your co-workers or neighbors, or create a thoughtful video full of family memories.

4. Ditch the wrapping paper

There are many alternatives to the traditional wrapping paper used for presents. If the gift already comes in a box, simply add a bow or little bit of ribbon to dress it up. Put gifts inside a reusable gift bag or basket, so they can be used multiple times.

5. Send an e-card

We live in a very connected world via our phones and computers, but many still send greeting cards in the mail during the holiday season. Save the paper and postage this year and send e-cards or social media messages to your loved ones to show you are thinking about them. Many sites allow you to send e-cards at no cost.

6. Start a new (active) family tradition

Rather than sticking with the tried and true traditions, gather the family, bundle up and head outside for a neighborhood walk. You can enjoy time together and check out any outdoor decorations or light shows down your street. This will save you money on your electric bill and you’ll get some exercise to help burn off those holiday calories.

Ultimately, how to save money during the holidays is up to you. Use your priorities and family traditions to help you determine what to budget money for to help ensure you have a happy holiday season.

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