My husband and I were married at the beginning of December. Unfortunately, we were broke college students. He was in graduate school full-time, and I had just started my first full-time job as a teacher. As you would expect for a novice teacher, the pay was low, and we were living in a high-cost-of-living area. Despite this, I wanted to make our new (apartment) home cozy, so I quickly learned how to decorate for the holidays on a budget.
Get Married During the Holidays
Okay, not everyone will do this, but because our wedding was so close to Christmas, many guests bought us holiday décor. We got a snowman Christmas cookie jar, some keepsake ornaments, and holiday plates and towels. Those items weren’t on our registry, but we loved them because they gave us things to decorate the apartment.
Shop Garage Sales
Shopping garage sales is the best way to decorate for the holidays on a budget. People are ALWAYS selling their used holiday items. I bought many of my Halloween and Christmas decorations this way, each costing me less than $1.
Shop Black Friday Sales
For big-ticket items like holiday comforters, Christmas trees, and outdoor lights, research the list price. Then, wait for Black Friday sales, and you may find items up to 50 percent off or more. These items usually sell out, so if you get them at 40 or 50 percent off, you’re getting a good deal.
Shop Clearance AFTER the Holidays
This tip won’t help you with decorating this year, but if you have patience, you can get holiday decorations for 70 to 80 percent off if you shop AFTER the holidays. You will see the steepest discounts the first five days after Christmas. Then, next year, you’ll have decorations for your home, and you’ll know that you got them at rock-bottom prices.
If you sign up for Michael’s email list, the company will regularly send you coupons, often for 40 percent off the price of one full-price item or 20 percent off all items, including items on sale. You can use these coupons to buy holiday decorations or supplies needed to make your holiday decorations, which is what I did.
Make Your Own Holiday Decorations
I made some of my holiday decorations using the supplies I bought at Michael’s for a discount. For instance, I made a garland wreath to hang on our front door at a fraction of the price of a pre-made wreath.
With patience, you can easily decorate for the holidays on a budget. Finding all the decorations you want, whether large or small, may take you a few years. However, waiting is worthwhile, especially when your budget is tight and you need to save money. My husband and I have accumulated our decorations through the years, and we’ve spent very little money doing so.
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Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York, where she loves the natural beauty of the area.