Navigating the grocery store and figuring out how much to spend and save during the holiday season can be tough — and before you know it, you're maxing out your initial budget. And the cute, festive packaging on cheap goods doesn't help, either. (It's SO tempting to upgrade for that extra holiday spirit!)
The good news is, with a few simple holiday shopping hacks, you can save up to half off on all your holiday expenses. Here are a few tricks to keep in mind, courtesy of budget blogger Lauren Greutman.
- Avoid holiday packaging. Seeing reindeer and snowflakes on a box of hot chocolate mix might seem like the perfect sip for the season, but it's usually marked up super high for what you're actually getting. For instance, a pack of hot chocolate that has six mixes total can cost around $5 because of the holiday packaging — but if you grab regular hot chocolate mix, you can score 10 total packets for about $2 instead. (Use the festive mugs we know you have at home instead!)
- Shop for decorations at thrift stores. You can find Christmas decorations and artificial trees for up to 50 or 90 percent off all major retail prices, Lauren says. Wow!
- Shop local for your Christmas tree. For real Christmas trees, shop local, from a retailer that grows their own trees. Pro tip: Pine trees usually cost less, the budget blogger says, and any tree that is grown in the U.S. is typically going to be cheaper than those that are from elsewhere. Trees grown right where you're standing are the most affordable, she explains.