The first holiday season in your new home is a special time for creating memories. Decorating your house for the first time is an exciting part of the festivities, but it can also be stressful — particularly for your bank account.
After making a down payment on your new home — plus paying for a home inspection and other moving expenses amid high inflation — spending more money on holiday decor might seem unthinkable. And if you’re still shopping for a new home this holiday season, it can feel frivolous.
But decorating your home for the holidays doesn’t have to break your budget. Here are seven tips for affordable holiday decorating.
Second-hand stores are a treasure trove for grabbing holiday decor on a budget. You can find everything from ornaments and figurines to dishes and place-settings all for a fraction of the cost you would buy them for new. And since holiday items are only used for a few weeks every year, they likely have less wear and tear than other items in shops.
To be even more budget-conscious, create a wish list of items you would like to buy before you hit the stores. Although it might be tempting to pick up everything you see, having a clear plan makes you more likely to find what you’re looking for and less likely to overspend.
If you use a credit card to pay for some of your decor, look for one with low or delayed interest charges and companies that offer rewards you can use later, such as cashback or frequent flyer rewards.
Discount shops are another great way to get affordable decorations, particularly items for trimming your tree. If you enjoy crafting, you can also buy supplies to make customized decorations. Do an online search for dollar store holiday decorations to find tutorials and supply lists.
You can also boost your decorating budget by earning extra cash for the holidays. You can shop on websites that provide cashback, complete surveys, and more. If you’re still house hunting, you can also put that money toward your down payment.
Paper is one of the most versatile and inexpensive materials that you can use to create holiday decorations for your home. You can make fold-and-cut paper snowflakes, banners, and garlands that can hang in your windows, along the fireplace, or around a Christmas tree.
Plus, you can create a special memory in your new home by hosting friends or family for a craft night. Then, at the end of the season, you can recycle decorations so you have fewer items to store.
Instead of leaving gift wrapping until the last minute, wrap presents as you purchase or make them. Whether or not you have a tree, wrapped gifts add a festive, decorative element to any room.
Buy your wrapping supplies accordingly. Pick colors and designs that you like and don’t hold back on adding over-sized ribbons and bows. By wrapping presents early and incorporating them into your design, you’re getting more value for the money you spend on gift-wrapping materials. Plus, wrapping as you go will keep you from feeling stressed in the days before gift exchanges, allowing you more time to enjoy your new home.
You can save money on your decorating budget by giving items on your grocery list another purpose. You can create simple yet beautiful centerpieces by placing shelf-stable fruits and vegetables in bowls or baskets.
Seasonal fruits, such as oranges and pears, can be stored outside of a fridge for about a week. By being edible, these decorations are multipurpose, giving them even more value. Plus, by having them so visible, you’ll be more likely to eat them — and we can all benefit from having more Vitamin C in the winter.
Look no farther than your own yard to create simple, classic holiday decorations. Items such as pinecones, branches, and twigs make for easy and free decorations. These items have been traditional parts of holiday decor for hundreds of years for good reason.
Carefully selected twigs and branches can be bunched together to create bouquets or garland. Pine cones can be collected and placed in bowls or baskets. Just take care to clean any items before you bring them inside to avoid introducing any insects or dirt.
Instead of buying all new decorations, look for ways to make items you already have in your home look more festive. Start by selecting bowls, baskets, and jars that can be temporarily decorated for the season.
If a Christmas tree isn’t in your budget this year, you can create a temporary but memorable tree with items you already have. For example, you can stack rings of books on top of each other to make a book tree that you can drape with some of those paper garlands you’ve made.
A DIY tree made from items you already have is especially helpful if you are still in the market for a home over the holidays — when you can often find deals on homes. You can easily pack it up for moving at any time without spending any extra money or too much time.