Frugal Festivities

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October 26, 2012

Tips to Saving This Holiday Season

The holidays are just around the corner, and while most of us could use a break from the bank, we don’t want to scrimp on making the season merry. There are plenty of ways to save money this holiday season, whether you’re on the road or lodged up for the winter.

While the budget certainly isn’t the main focus of the holiday season, spending time with loved ones, old friends and new, can be costly, especially if you’re hosting the festivities. Here are some money-saving tips that can enable you to continue your favorite holiday traditions without breaking the bank.

1.)   Invitations: Postage for holiday party invitations can really add up quickly. To save on such expenses, go online and use email or online event planning services such as to plan your next event. sends free digital invitations out to anyone you choose. Another option is to send private messages using online social services communities such as Good Sam’s online community or Facebook.

2.)   Food: Instead of going all out and buying, making and preparing (not to mention cleaning up), ask guests to bring their favorite holiday dish. Whether you’re getting together with family, friends or members of your local Chapter, they’re most often happy to pitch in. Here is where you can get creative. Go to your local craft or drug store and pick up recipe cards. You can embellish them with stickers or other festive adhesives to make recipe cards look fun. Distribute the blank decorated recipe cards at your dinner and watch as everyone shares recipes with one another. In a nice way, it’s bringing people together to share a meal and also take away a new recipe for their friends and family.

3.)   Decorations: Another way to save cash is to make your own holiday decorations. You can do a lot with a piece of foam from the craft store and fake flowers that are often readily available in most department store dollar sections. Wrap ribbon around the circular foam tube and hot glue fake flowers all around to make a holiday wreath. This can hang in your house or RV. Let’s not forget about stockings – blank stockings and fabric paint can be found at local craft stores during the holiday season. Get together with kids, grandkids, or RVing friends for a day of decorating stockings and cookie decorating.

4.)   Spreading Holiday Cheer: A cookie exchange is a fast-growing holiday trend that is truly timeless and economical. Gather a group of friends – or family – together and have everyone bring a batch of cookies or bars to share. Once everyone is together, distribute the variety of cookies to guests so that everyone has one of each. Distribute blank decorated recipe cards at this event, too, for added fun.

5.)   Homemade gifts aren’t just for the kids. More than ever, people are using digital photography for gifts. Photos can be saved and manipulated with photo editing software such as Photoshop and then printed off at a photo printing place or a local department store like Target. Buying a blank frame and decorating the exterior with paint or decoupage or using a print transfer onto fabric (tote bags, T-shirts or blankets) can be a fun, creative way to show your loved ones how much they mean to you.

So, whether you’re at the campground this holiday season or spending time lodged with relatives or friends, there is a conservative way to make the holidays special – and perhaps even a little more thoughtful than buying something lavish.

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  1. WL Hodges

    Family Thanksgiving Dinner is always potluck for us. The host bakes the turkey and stuffing, the rest is brought in and I prefer it this way. Those who come enjoy contributing to dinner and feel like they have helped. I never thought of it as being cheap, but rather inclusive and letting everyone take part.

  2. Barbara Wray

    If you want to give a party GIVE a party. Don’t ask guests to bring the food.

  3. Gee Eugene, got out of the wrong side of the bed or what. One of the most memorable Thanksgivings I remember was spent at a Good Sam camp ground in Santa Cruz, CA. Everyone brought a potluck dish, people sat at picnic tables set up in a warm indoor dining room, and people you never new before became friends. I’m sure if someone suggested making something crafty, everyone would have gone along. Some of the best things in life are inexpensive and free.

  4. Eugene Crandall

    REad through your suggestions, and with ideas like this, I can understand why our population is a bunch of cheap suckers. Fake this, cheap craft that, wow, but to stay in the mood, its all for the benefit of the Holiday season right?