Frugality is a wonderful thing. It allows you to live within your means, thereby reducing stress. Moreover, it allows you to focus on the things that really matter in life. However, there’s a difference between frugality and being cheap or stingy. You don’t want to go overboard at Christmas, for example. However, you also don’t want to be a Scrooge. So here are some tips for how to be frugal but not cheap on Christmas.
Frugality is a Mindset
Being frugal isn’t just about making the choice to spend as little money as possible. Instead, it’s a mindset, an attitude, a way of living. Each one of us has complicated money psychology. Frugality is a choice that you make when you understand your own money psychology. You choose to be frugal because you value:
- Living within your means
- Saving for the future
- Emphasizing quality time over expensive experiences
- Valuing the little things in life
Oftentimes, if you’re just cheap, it’s because you have a scarcity mindset. You save money because you’re terrified of not having enough. You’re so afraid that you let your cheap choices negatively impact your mood, your relationships, your work choices and more.
In contrast, you can be frugal and still feel like you have an abundance of great things. And you know how to budget so that you can splurge a little on the things that feel right. So, with that in mind let’s talk about ways to be frugal but not cheap on Christmas.
5 Ways to Be Frugal But Not Cheap on Christmas
Honestly, it’s all about your attitude. It’s all about finding things to do and gifts to share that don’t cost a lot of money. It’s about emphasizing the joys of the season, rather than making cost the focus in any way. Here are five tips for how to be frugal but not cheap on Christmas.
1. Fill Your Calendar with Free and Cheap Holiday Events
Many times you spend money on Christmas meals, parties, travel, etc. You might feel obligated to bring gifts to Christmas parties. Instead, fill your calendar with free / cheap holiday events.
Invite your friends and family to join. Christmas caroling, tree lighting ceremonies, and other public events are great options. Enjoy the quality time and the spirit of the holiday while staying frugal.
Additionally, remember that there are many volunteer opportunities at this time of year. Giving your time to others is a great way to honor the season. Plus this can be a great group activity.
2. Send Handwritten Letters Instead of Gifts and Cards
Are you the type of family that takes the almost-obligatory family photo, often with a professional photographer, then sends out the same holiday greeting card to everyone? Is that being frugal or is that being cheap?
Make a shorter list of people you really care about. Then sit down and write them a heartfelt holiday letter instead. The stamps cost the same amount. You can decorate plain paper with markers instead of paying for expensive pre-printed cards.
And the emotional value is so much higher. That’s how to be frugal but not cheap on Christmas. You might even find that a handwritten letter is better than a material gift for some of the people you expected to buy gifts for this year.
3. Create Holiday Video Messages
What about all of those other people that are usually on your mailing list? The ones that you don’t necessarily want to handwrite a letter to. Nevertheless, you want to acknowledge them? I have a friend who records a beautiful video with music and sends it out each year. It feels personal and meaningful, even though it’s going out to a lot of different people. You can send these through text, social media, and email.
4. Be Frugal But Not Cheap on Christmas with Baked Gifts
A lot of people really enjoy the experience of spending a day (or several) baking with the whole family. And if you buy the raw materials in bulk, then you can make a whole lot of cookies and brownies without spending a lot of money. Play Christmas music, enjoy time together as a family, and at the end you’ll have a gift that you can give to just about everyone on your gift list. These are also great to bring to holiday parties instead of wine or other gifts.
Schneider Peeps mentions giving jam / jelly to everyone as an alternative option. Whatever you enjoy cooking or baking at home that you can do affordably can be a great gift. And more importantly, a great family activity. That’s really what it means to be frugal but not cheap on Christmas.
5. Buy That One Thing That’s Exactly Right For Someone
It’s okay to spend some money at Christmas if you’ve calculated it into your budget. However, you can avoid spending a lot of money on tons of little gifts for your children, your partner, and your other family members. Focus on really thinking about what the person will love the most. It’s better to buy one perfect gift for someone than to give them tons of little pointless things. Yes, even kids.
What are some ways that you go about being frugal but not cheap on Christmas?