Decking the halls for the holiday season can be festive and fun. We love to decorate our homes with trees, wreaths, and yards of electric lighting. Popular comedies are centered on the excesses of the season, and there are reality shows where families across the U.S. compete to see whose house can be seen from orbit.
While it’s fun to deck the halls, make sure those boughs of holly and strings of lighting don’t break the bank.
- A Kmart and Sears survey of 1,000 adults in November indicated that 34 percent of Americans plan on spending $100 or more this year on holiday decorations. If (like the average American) your holiday budget is $800, that’s ten percent of your budget going toward the tree and the decorations alone.
- Holiday lights account for 6.6 billion kilowatt hours of energy used in a year.
- In 2014, 26.3 million real trees were purchased. With each tree costing $40 or more, that adds up quickly.
If you’re trying to plan your holiday decorations, it’s important to keep your decorating expenses in check. Otherwise, you run the risk of running out of money or going over budget.
Here are four easy ways to deck the halls, without going over budget.
1. Save Green on the Tree
Start small. While it’s tempting to buy the largest tree available, try to be realistic about your needs. Remember, the bigger the tree, the more you’ll need to spend to decorate it.
If you’re looking to save money, try shopping on a weeknight. Some tree lot owners are more willing to negotiate about prices during the week when sales are slower.
Another option is to invest in a plastic tree. It may cost more upfront, but it won’t shed, and you can reuse it year after year.
2. Light with LEDs
If you’re serious about your home lighting, consider purchasing LED lights instead of traditional incandescent bulbs. According to industry experts, LEDs are hardier than traditional strings of lights and use 1/10 the amount of electricity.
They will cost more upfront, so if you do invest in LEDs, make sure that you plan to use them over several years.
3. Less Is More
Instead of decorating the entire house, try to focus on the areas that matter. Decorating the main family room is fine. Instead of going all out on lights for the entire house, focus on the areas that are most visible.
Want to save on electricity? Set your lights on a timer system so that they can shine during the early evening and will shut off as people are going to bed.
4. Get Creative
Instead of buying expensive decorations, find creative ways to use items already lying around the house. Use construction paper and newspaper scraps to create paper chains. Hang family photos, or turn unused toys into ornaments. The options are endless, just make it personal and give everyone a chance to shine.
Want to see how much you can really afford to spend on decorations this year? Take advantage of the Ultimate Holiday Budget Spreadsheet.
This resource is detailed, easy to use and allows you to set a holiday budget that fits your income before the start of the season.
Want to create a budget for after the holidays?
Schedule a free counseling session today or call us at 800-920-2262.