10 Easy Holiday Lighting Hacks

In 2011, Bloomberg reported that Americans spent a whopping six billion dollars on Christmas decorations — and lights are always a big one. Thankfully, you can give your place a festive glow this year with a few simple tricks for frugal Christmas lighting.

1. Choose LEDs

LED lights come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and tones. They are more expensive up front, but consider this: The average traditional C7 incandescent bulb uses around six watts of electricity, while an LED uses only fraction of that (.8 watts).

If you string up 10 strands of LEDs instead of incandescent lights, you could save yourself upwards of $40 a month. The LEDs last longer, too, so over time you will most definitely get your money back on that initial investment.

2. Measure Twice

Before you head to the store, measure where you plan to hang your lights. This way, you'll know exactly how many strands you need without overspending. It's also a good idea to measure the distance from where you want to hang your lights to the power source.

3. Set a Timer

Some of our neighbors leave their Christmas lights on all night. Others keep their trees plugged in during daytime hours. If you think about it, all those extra hours equates to dollars — which adds up fast over the course of a few months. Try using an inexpensive timer to limit wasting energy. You can set it to turn on at dusk, and off in two to eight hour cycles.

4. Use Hooks

You can hang your lights virtually anywhere if you use a set of Outdoor Command Hooks. You'll need approximately one clip per two feet of lights. You can put the hooks on almost any material.

5. Go Quality Over Quantity

You don't need to illuminate every square inch of your space to be festive. Try stringing lights on only the roofline of your home. Or, simply hang a festive lit garland around your door instead. A single LED candle in each window is a classy and efficient way to add a holiday glow.

6. Clip Rebates

The Department of Energy encourages you to seek out rebates and coupons for ENERGY STAR qualified lighting. You can find these deals in flyers for local hardware and department stores. These efficient lights come in all different colors for both indoors and outdoors. Most of these strands also include a three-year warranty.

You may even notice that a few stores have trade-in events. Basically, you bring in your old, broken set of lights and exchange them for savings on a new, more energy-efficient set.

7. Practice Safety

Since many of your lights will be outdoors, you'll need to consider the elements. If your lights will be exposed to rain, ice, and snow, wrap their connectors with a piece of electrical tape. If you're planning to be away, it's a good idea to unplug your lights.

8. Try Alternatives

Skip the plug entirely and try these solar-powered Christmas lights. These cool strands soak in the sun's rays all day and switch on when it gets dark outside. The best part? There's zero energy cost. And your designs aren't limited by where you can find available outlets.

You can also get an impressive display on your home with a decorative light projector. That's just one light to power! Simply plug in the projector, point it at your home, and get dazzling lights. Some models are animated for extra fun.

9. Hang Them Up

At the end of the season, wrap your lights around hangers so they won't be tangled when you go to retrieve them next year. Anchor one end of the lights on the hanger's loop, wrap slowly, and you're done. It's that easy!

10. Plan Ahead

The absolute best time to buy Christmas lights is after the holidays. Many stores hold clearance sales and have coupons so you can get as many as your heart desires on the cheap. So, try planning out future displays in your head now and grabbing your lights at the start of the 2016.

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