Beginning the décor shopping before you draw up a plan:
While it's tempting to head right out and see what you can find, buying before you plan your look usually leads to increased spending. Plan first, and then you know exactly what you need and what you don't when you start pulling out your wallet.
Lighting inexpensive, bulk candles in each of your home's windows:
Unless your window treatments are completely, infallibly fireproof, it's not a good idea to put real burning candles in your windows. For a similar look, try electric candles. You can find them for as little as a buck each for the small, LED versions.
Buying seasonal plants and flowers at a small, boutique florist:
While a small, independent florist can have an excellent, high-quality selection, it will usually lose a straight-up price comparison with grocery stores and big-box stores. Larger, chain retailers will typically offer holiday-specific greenery at a more budget-friendly cost.
Taking foliage and pinecones from your own yard:
When you're creating your own, season-inspired centerpieces and wreaths, there's no reason to buy evergreen clippings and pine cones from a store if you have them in your own backyard. It's the same thing, only cheaper.
Putting all of your purchases on credit instead of debit:
If you can help it, avoid using credit during the holiday season where you can. Holiday purchases can really add up, and credit cards often encourage impulsive buys. Plus, if you can't pay it off all at once, the interest will keep accruing long after you retire your tree.
Using LED string lights instead of incandescent:
LED lights not only cost less than their incandescent counterparts, but they also require less energy to run; so if you go this route, you'll save some money on your power bill, too.
Going with a color theme instead of an iconic one:
Because color themes are so flexible, you'll often find that you can use decorations you already have in new and interesting ways. It's also really easy to find cheap pieces of décor that aren't much on their own but totally work in color groupings.
Writing festive phrases on your windows using waterproof tape:
Tape will leave hard-to-remove sticky stuff all over your windows, and you'll spend hours cleaning once the holidays are over. Instead, use washable paint.
Getting all of your shopping done in the mall:
While getting it all at décor stores in the mall can be convenient (and looks so appealing), you probably won't save much money there in the lead-up to the holidays. Instead, shop around (you can do this online) and figure out which stores are worth the multi-stop trip.
Beginning the quest for next year's holiday décor as soon as this year's holiday is over:
After-holiday clearance sales can be excellent sources for future holiday décor. Prices are usually slashed so low, you might even be able to grab a few nice things from more expensive stores.
Decorating for the holidays is a cherished tradition in many homes: Each year, come fall, people start revving up to bring the spirit of the season inside. Trouble is, decorating takes cash, which may be in short supply. There are, however, ways to do it for less. Here, test your knowledge of some budget-friendly approaches to achieving a festive style.
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