It really does seem as though the holiday season is basically an excuse to spend more money. Indeed, from food to gifts to decor, holiday season spending starts to add up fast. Holiday decorations can get quite pricey as well. I like to give my home a festive look, and you probably do, too. The good news is that holiday decorating doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some things to think about as you get your home ready for the holidays:


You should see what happens to our electric bill during the month of December. With lights on the tree, and the very small amount of lighting that goes around our front window, things begin to get out of hand. Here are two things to consider to help you keep costs down:

  1. Use a timer: Put your indoor and outdoor lights on timers. This way, they go on and off at the same time each day. This will help you limit the total time they are on, and keep you from forgetting to turn them off later. There’s no reason to keep the lights burning all night long.
  2. Consider LED lights: These lights use less energy than regular lights, and they are starting to come down in price. You might not want to buy them just yet, though. Consider waiting until they go on sale after Christmas. We bought a bunch of LED lights last year for 80% off, and are looking forward to seeing how much they save us in energy costs this year.

Re-Usable Decorations

One of the best ways to save money over the long run is to plan to re-use holiday decorations. We bought a fake tree, and that saves us having to dish out for a new tree each year. Inexpensive scented candles help us get that Christmas tree smell. (Plus, we don’t have to worry about the fire hazard that comes with a real tree.) We also re-use the hand-made wreath my husband’s sister gave us one year. We have several other decorations that we get out year after year. Our gradually growing stockpile means that we don’t purchase any decorations any more, contributing to a frugal holiday season.

Repurpose Inexpensive Items

Wrapped candy, fruit and cinnamon sticks can all provide a festive holiday look. And these items don’t cost much. Buy a couple extra apples while grocery shopping and grab a couple of cinnamon sticks while you are at it. You can create a simple decoration that way. Look at old ribbon scraps to see what you can tie into bows. Get an extra frame and put a picture from last year’s holiday event in it. Add a bow and it is a fun and personal decoration. I’ve been known to raid my emergency candle stock and use a piece of gold ribbon to tie three tapers of different lengths together. Think of what you have, and incorporate them into your holiday decor.

Plan to Shop the After Christmas Sales

The main thing is to avoid buying holiday decor before Christmas. Everything goes on sale at amazing discounts once Christmas is over. Think about what you would like, and make a list. Then, hit the sales after Christmas. If we add new decorations, that’s when we buy them. We buy our wrapping paper for the following year, as well as a few new tree ornaments, after Christmas. It’s a good way to reduce the cost of home holiday decor, and enjoy a debt free Christmas.

How do you save money on Holiday decorating?


Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.