5 Frugal Ways to Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays

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Here are 5 frugal ways to get your home ready for the holidays. We have several of them coming up, so it's time to create a plan to stay under budget.

There are so many holidays coming up: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Try to contain yourselves; the season is upon us. My husband cheerfully lets me know this with text messages of ridiculous holiday emoticons. Like John, I’m pretty much a scrooge around the holidays, but I’m trying to get better. ūüôā

What frustrates me most about getting ready for the holidays is that all the marketers out there want us to spend a ton of money on decorations every year. In fact, according to a survey from KMart & Sears, 34% of people spend on $100 a year or more on holiday decorations, and 82% of Americans plan on buying new decorations this year.

So, if you don’t want to spend on the decorations but you want your home to look nice, here are some frugal ways to get your home ready for the holidays:

Double Up the Holidays


Halloween and Thanksgiving can really be lumped into the same fall season. Instead of decorating with skeletons, witches, and gravestones, use¬†pumpkins, fall leaves, and beautiful fall colors. That way, you won’t have to switch your decor to turkeys for Thanksgiving. The pumpkins have been in place on your doorstep for a few weeks already!

Teach your kids to live frugally by Decorating With them


It might not look like it came out of a magazine, but why not have your kids try their hand at decorating? They can create inexpensive pictures, finger paint, do crafts, and in general create a few cute decorations for your home that only cost a few dollars. You can carry this tradition all the way through Christmas, where they can create their own ornaments instead of buying expensive new ones at the store.

Skip the candy


Last year, my husband and I disagreed over whether or not to give out¬†candy for trick or treaters. I said no way. He said I was no fun. Guess who won? (Hint: It wasn’t me.) We had little tiny babies at the time, so I just stayed with them inside while my husband sat on the front porch with a bowl full of candy, all hopeful and excited for the trick or treaters.

Well, only about five came because we live in the not-so-fancy part of town. This year, I’m not sure what we’ll do. I keep dutifully passing up all the Halloween candy¬†and all the Halloween decorations¬†in the store, but he might win out again! When the kids are older, I’m sure we’ll take them out and decorate our home more, but for now, we’ll just be taking some photos of them and staying in!

Use What You Have


There are likely many things around your house that you can use to decorate. Have a white sheet? Create a ghost for your front yard. Have extra ornaments? Place them in a bowl and set them out on the table. Don’t want to shell out for new lights? Try to repair the ones you have.

With enough creativity and ingenuity, you can really stretch your current decorations. There is no need to be the person in your town with 50,000 Christmas lights who has it all set up to coordinate with music (and the $1,000 a month electric bill that comes with it.)

Here are 5 frugal ways to get your home ready for the holidays. We have several of them coming up, so it's time to create a plan to stay under budget.

Remember Less is More


We talk about minimalism pretty often here, and the holidays are a great time to drive home that message. When it comes to minimalism, it’s not just about the costumes or the food or the gifts. It’s really about embracing the idea that less is more.

So, instead of having 100 new Halloween decorations, accept that it’s okay to carve one pumpkin. If you don’t have the money to fly to visit family for Thanksgiving, it’s okay to have a small dinner¬†with just your immediate family. If you don’t want to go into credit card debt for Christmas, try the four gift rule. Minimalism really is freeing once you get the hang of it.

I know it doesn’t seem like it from this post, but I really am trying to be better about the holidays especially now that I’m a parent. However, I don’t think I’ll ever be excited about the way people overspend and the way marketers just won’t let up (and it’s only getting worse.)

Still, I think as a group of frugal minded people, we can combat this by celebrating the holidays frugally and doing our best not to overspend or go overboard when decorating our homes to get them ready for the holidays; making this conscious choice will benefit our families and our homes


How do you plan to get ready for the holidays this year? Do you think you can do it frugally without planning ahead? What is your favorite holiday? How do you get your home ready for it?

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.


  • We have a 3 year old Christmas tree and until now we still use it! ūüôā We only have 3 Christmas lights, we don’t want to double our electricity bill.

  • I’m not much of a seasonal decorator except for Christmas, though we have been carving a Jackolantern now that my daughter’s old enough to want one. Thanksgiving is usually at a relative’s house, so we only have to spend money on gas and food for the family potluck.

    As for Christmas, I miss having a fresh Christmas tree, but having an artificial one has certainly saved us a lot of money in the 6 years we’ve had it. Most of our tree decorations are inherited from my Mom and Grandmother with lots of sentimental value. We set a light up deer and a light up Santa Yoda on our porch, but if we feel the need for more Christmas lights, we just go drive around for a bit and find houses that do more decorating.

    • Cat says:

      Yes I like having an artificial one too. Maybe once the kids are older and I’m not worried about them hanging on it like Tarzan we can get a real one.

  • I think the more minimalist I become, the more I’m throwing out many of our holiday decorations because I don’t want to store them anymore. I pretty much don’t decorate for fall anymore, and for Christmas, I just put up the tree and let my daughter hang the ornaments. It really is enough. No need to go crazy.

    Baking cookies and drinking hot chocolate is way more fun than hanging off the side of your roof with Christmas lights and a stapler anyway.

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