With all the late fall and winter holidays coming up, many families worry about cost. Eco-friendly ideals can seem out of reach this time of year, but only if you spend as if you’re celebrating a typical holiday. Real eco-minded holidays focus on less stuff and more togetherness and the celebration aspect.
In my opinion, you can probably afford an eco-friendly holiday season, much more so than you can afford a typical holiday season. That said, I figured we’d look at the flowchart method again, plus some past money saving tips so you can kick of the holiday season with fun, not debt.
First the flowchart
When making a purchasing decision, I try to think like a flowchart. I used to actually carry one around, literally on paper, but now it’s in my head. One great example of a typical money saving flowchart, is the Should You Buy It Flowchart by the good folks at Get Rich Slowly…
I use an in my head version, that’s much like this chart, but with some additional green criteria. My flowchart questions include stuff like:
- Do I need it?
- How will this make my life better – more fun – easier – etc?
- Do I already have something like this? Can I use something else? (Example: owning a teapot is overrated for me. I don’t drink much tea and can use a pot to boil water).
- Can I borrow one instead?
- How long it its lifespan? Is it recyclable? Can it be used for something else?
- Is it toxic for my family or the planet?
- Can I afford it? REALLY can I afford it?
- Do I need it?
“Do I need it?!”
I always ask the first question twice. Once at first and once later. It’s the most important question on the list. If I’m using this flowchart for gifts, I’d ask as the person. For example, “Does Cedar really need this; will he use it; etc.” All year long a good in your head, or on paper flowchart, will save you cash, but it’s especially important during the holiday season when people are prone to overspend.
Big ways to save money
Buy less stuff! One awesome and meaningful present makes a bigger impact than 20 small ones, or in fact it should. If it doesn’t at your house, you may need to sit down and have a big talk with your family.
Learn to avoid commercialism. We’re all targeted, but you don’t have to give in.
Live green all year round – you’ll save money for the holidays by doing so. Part of this challenge is believing that eco-friendly can be affordable. If you’re having doubts read the following:
- Is Green Living Worth the Cost?
- Why green living is worth the cost
- False: It’s impossible to afford green living
Other ways to save money
- Use LED holiday lights on your tree and around your home. LED lights last longer and save you a lot more in the long run than traditional holiday lights.
- Consider a reusable tree – not a fake Christmas tree, but a cool eco-Christmas tree that can be used year after year.
- Reuse your gift wrap for other crafts or gifts after the holidays.
- Send free green e-cards for the holidays vs. paper cards. E-cards cost both you and the planet less.
- Come up with a secure green holiday plan early on.
- Make your own eco-friendly holiday gifts.
- Learn how to save money on organic holiday food.
- Read I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas for more eco-holiday tips that may help you save money as well.
What are some ways you save money and keep it green during the holiday season?