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The holiday season is in full swing and people are decorating their homes with Santas, trees, reindeer, and lights, lots and lots of lights. Before you rush out to the store to buy all the decor you can find, take some time to plan. This will not only make the process less stressful, you’ll be able to save money on your purchases, which translates to more decorations AND more money to spend on presents and celebrating.

old Christmas ballsAssess

Start by looking at the decorations you already have. Haul out the boxes from the basement or garage and sort through your inventory. Inspect items for wear and tear and be willing to dispose of things that are broken or so out of style you can’t imagine every displaying them again.

This inventory will let you create a list of what you need to replace. Then you can start listing the new things you’d like to get this year.

Research

The real work starts here. You want to find the best price available for each item on your list (just as you do when shopping for anything). Here’s a few sources for research.

  • Store salesĀ  — Fliers are abundant this time of year. Compare prices between local stores.
  • Online sellers – Many retailers offer free shipping during the holidays so you may get a great deal by ordering on the web.
  • Coupons — Search magazines, newspapers, and online for coupons that will bring down those sale prices even further.
  • Price matching — Some stores match the lowest price of their competitors, which will cut down on the driving you need to do.
  • Thrifting — Check out thrift stores, consignment shops, and even estate sales to find gently used (or sometimes never used) decorations that have been donated by others and cost a fraction of the retail price.

DIY

When you’re making your shopping plan, take a few minutes to consider if there are some decorations you can make yourself. Craft and sewing stores have great deals on the raw materials you’ll need. If you’re quick at crafting and wait until the last minute, they will start reducing prices right after Thanksgiving (since they figure most crafters started on their projects back in August).

An added bonus of DIY decorations is that you can get the whole family involved. The finished ornaments, garlands, etc., may not be “perfect” but they will be full of memories of the time you spent together.

Get a Jump on Next Year

At the very bottom of your decoration plan, make a list of things you don’t absolutely need this year but would like to have next year. Then head out on December 26th to buy those things at 75% off. The after Christmas sales are the best time of year to save on decorations.

With a researched and detailed plan, your actual shopping — and crafting — should be relatively stress-free, because you know you’ll be saving money as well as getting everything you need to transform your home into a holiday showcase.

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