Unique Ways to Save Money in December

Credit Cave has a Santa-sized post detailing 101 of the smartest ways to save money this Christmas. Here are a few that I'll be applying this month:

#63 clocks in with a tip about gift-giving — give gift certificates.

Gift certificates are great! I personally love them because I know what I need/want. Plus, bundling gift cards to Best Buy to get something bigger always makes me happy.

Give cash or vouchers. You’ll still have to pay up for them, but they allow you to control your budget. These types of gifts are well received anyway because the recipient can buy whatever they want, and because they can shop after Christmas has passed they’ll get more bang for their buck in the sales.

What's a voucher? And cash? I think that crosses an invisible line for me and demeans the gift. A little idealism is good for society, so stick to the gift certificate.

The best part about any gift is the thoughful, heartfelt message that accompanies it. Which leads us to...

#82 — make your own cards.

If you simply must send a card, why not make your own? You can create a decent looking card with your own printer and people will appreciate your effort. It also means you can personalize the message.

Planning a party? #24 concerns libations, booze, and alcohol.

Shop online. There are lots of online discount liquor stores, just watch yourself when it comes to sales taxes.

I love #66 — grow your own Christmas tree!

Why buy a Christmas tree when you can grow your own? It might take a few years, but if you plant a few in the back yard, you’ll be covered for the future and save yourself a lot of money.

For those of you lucky enough to have a backyard, this is a great idea for your family over the years. I'm definitely going to do this when I have a backyard. Or perhaps a variation... Christmas avocado tree?

What about re-gifting? Instead of re-gifting, probably to someone who doesn't want it either, try selling it. There's always a buyer on eBay or do it offline at a garage sale. Those were #96 and #97.

Most people get a few gifts that they’d rather had stayed in the shop. Instead than dumping them or putting them into long-term storage in a box, monetize your junk gifts and sell them on eBay.

Another way of monetizing unwanted gifts is to sell them off in a garage sale, just make sure that the person who gave you the gift doesn’t turn up!

#37 saves me a ton of cash year round. 

There’s nothing like an open fire and a book. Instead of buying a new book, just read one you haven’t touched for a while.

Wise Bread bonus: use your local library. Today I checked out four cookbooks for free, and I get to keep them for three weeks. Even better, I can go to the LA Public Library website and renew the books for another three weeks. (Limited to two renewals.)

What's the catch? You're already paying for it with your taxes. So enjoy the benefits. And when you're done with your bought books, why not donate it the library? Write it off as a karma investment.

Have tips to add? We'd love to hear them! Leave a comment.

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Fitch Hurst's picture

I learned something here: you can buy liquor over the Internet. I just never thought to look! I know you can buy groceries, I know you can buy frozen pizza directly from Chicago, but the logistics of online liquor sales... I'm floored, and pleased, and scared for my future children.

Guest's picture
dave sobel

How do you buy Chicago frozen pizza?? I moved to San Diego and miss real windy city style pizza! Thanks!

Fitch Hurst's picture

Hey Dave,

I ordered Lou Malnati's Chicago deep-dish Pizza directly from Chicago to LA. It was frozen with lots of dry ice, and I had to get it in a freezer immediately. It wasn't cheap, and it was more economical to order a few at once, 'cause they still can expire!

It cooked rather well, it was a bit wet, probably from the evaporated water turning to ice, then back to water. The flavor was fantastic, but the crust wasn't as crispy. The cheese could have been crispier, so I tried to broil it for a minute, and that kinda singed the crust. I tell you what, though, it was much cheaper than getting a plane ticket and a taxi, so it was well worth it.

This would be a great gift for a former Chicagoan, or someone who just can't wait to get back. 

Guest's picture

The best kind of liquor can only be purchased online (for americans anyway): http://www.absinthe.bz Please drink responsibly and all that.

Guest's picture
Cindy M

Way late with entry but sure agree with you on the xmass trees. I say if you must, just decorate a tree you already have in your yard and call that an xmass tree, ha-ha. Or hit a Builder's Square or Walmart and buy a bunch of nice little blue spruce for less than 5 bucks apiece (I did a few years ago and they're looking great). The kids probably won't appreciate it, of course, but it's a totally pagan custom anyway, as any good bible believer knows, and not Christian. When I got saved and left catholicism years ago, I gave away all my decorations and stopped the useless customs. I now buy close friends and family little things throughout the year (hey, for a bible believer, every day should be like xmass) and/or do things for people and let everybody know I don't do xmass. Anyway, just hate to see all those beautiful expensive dead little xmass trees lying on curbs after the holidays, what a waste. Would look so much better planted someplace. Could mulch them down, I guess.

Guest's picture
Rosalyn Walker