When we’re budgeting for Christmas, sometimes we forget to take into account the costs of wrapping. It may seem like a small cost, but like any small cost it can add up quickly.
Welcome back to Frugal Festivities: 25 Days of Christmas Cheer on a Budget. Today I’m going to share my top six tips for saving money on wrapping.
But first I want to remind you that in January I’m hosting the Frugal Fresh Start Challenge! Every weekday in January we’ll be tackling a new way to be more frugal so you can reach your financial goals. When you sign up for the challenge you’ll get the workbook emailed to you for free!
Okay, now let’s talk about saving money on Christmas wrapping. I’m sharing my favorite tips here, but I would love to hear your great ideas in the comments.
What’s black and white and read all over? There are a whole slew of answers for that, but the one I’m looking for is the newspaper! Not everyone gets the newspaper these days, but I bet you can find some newsprint pretty easily. Use some red ribbon or a red tag on a package wrapped in newsprint and it will look classy and festive! This is especially great for those big packages that are wrapping paper hogs!
Make Your Own
A couple of years ago someone gave us big rolls of paper. It’s actually newsprint that’s not printed on. They got quite a few rolls of it for a project and shared the leftovers. Give the kids some festive colors of paint and they will turn huge sheets of paper into lovely wrapping paper. And it’s got a personal touch.
Wrapping paper is one of my favorite things to stock up on after Christmas when it’s 75% off. If you buy your wrapping paper after the season every year, then you’ll never have to pay full price for it! Wrapping paper is super easy to store in an attic, garage, closet, or under a bed. I am always quick to grab the clearance wrapping paper that isn’t overly seasonal so it can double as birthday, wedding, or baby shower wrapping.
Check the Thrift Store
I have found lots of great wrapping paper at thrift stores, even in the Christmas season when you would think it would all be gone. It’s usually priced at $.50- $1 per roll and I’ve found some pretty big rolls!
A sub-tip here would be to check thrift stores and yard sales in the off season too. Like I mentioned earlier, wrapping paper is easy to store.
Make Reusable Fabric Gift Bags
You can find both sewable and no-sew versions online. These are great when you’re giving gifts within your immediate family, you can just collect them up and use them for next year. There’s no waste and no future purchase necessary. My kids do a less fancy version of this for family birthdays sometimes. They’ll sometimes just wrap presents for the siblings in in pillowcases.
Be a Smart Shopper
If you need to buy wrapping paper this year, be sure to BE SMART ABOUT IT. The rolls of paper may look the equal, but there are lots of rolls of paper that have very little actual paper on them, especially in multi-packs with a variety of prints. Look at the number of square feet on the roll and the price so you can figure out the price per square foot.
If math wasn’t your forte, you’ll take the price and divide it by the number of square feet on the roll. The answer will be the price per square foot. Compare the price per square foot of several rolls. It’s likely (but not definite) that the larger rolls will be cheaper.
What about ribbons and tags and bows? If they’re necessary for your wrapping style, you can use many of these same tips for ribbons, tags, and bows. If you’re not overly concerned with aesthetics, the easiest thing to do is just write right on the gift with a sharpie! I don’t think anyone will complain. In fact, in our family at least for the gifts from mom and dad, we use a different wrapping paper for each child, so a tag or writing isn’t even necessary.
With these 6 tips you should be able to reduce what you spend on Christmas wrapping. I would love to hear your best tips in the comments!
basket random says
We plan to use her wrapping paper for our holiday gift next year. Our packages always looked great because she ironed them with a warm setting to smooth out the paper and curl the ribbons. She went to the gift wrap section of the local department store and bought a huge roll of paper.
I’ve definitely reused gift bags and old wrapping paper before on previous holidays. Additionally, I’ve found that certain kinds of wallpaper work quite well for wrapping up Xmas and birthday presents.
Candy Douglas says
My mom was very frugal. She would carefully remove bows, ribbons and paper from her presents, carefully fold and save it. Next year our present we’re wrapped in her paper. She would use a warm iron on the paper and ribbons and our packages were beautiful. I remember her buying a big roll of paper from the gift wrap section of a local department store. It lasted her for years. She would tell us that she wanted to buy us presents not wrapping paper.
DIANE CLARK says
I love your ideas! Very good advice! 🙂
Meera Pandey says
Christmas is near….
This post is very helpful for organizing christmas gifts.
Jyl Milner says
I use rolls of gift wrap from the dollar store. The quality isn’t as great as some other sources, but as long as it hides the gift until it is unwrapped, it does what I need it to do.
We like using the fabric gift bags. We have numerous ones now and it’s super easy to just give the gift and then save the bag for later! I made some and you can also buy fabric gift bags. Did you know that you can even buy fabric gift wrap too? I’ve seen that for sale on Amazon but haven’t taken the plunge yet. I have just wrapped fabric around the gifts though and pinned it shut.
I also like stockings because they can be reused from year to year. Minimizing presents helps us too. We’ve made a conscious decision to just go with consumable gifts this year. (only things that can be eaten up or used up, essentially.) We do those in the stockings. Beyond that, we’re going to make a donation to the charity of our choice and enjoy family time and a fun activity.
I think that one cost saver is to decide what you want to do as a family and not let the culture guilt you into doing things that you don’t enjoy. I used to absolutely hate Christmas and want it to be over as soon as possible because I wasn’t comfortable with the amount of gifts given and hated the clutter of it.
As a family, we’ve decided that lots of Christmas gifts isn’t for us. Nor do we have to eat anything in specific for Christmas dinner. If we want to make a homemade lasagna for $6 and a $0.50 loaf of homemade garlic bread, then we will. Who cares what other people think that we need to do or eat on Christmas? If other people enjoy doing traditional things, there’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t feel like you need to follow the culture if your heart isn’t in it.
My brother in law was actually thinking of going on a cruise to escape Christmas, because he was so stressed out with it.
It’s important that we do things that we enjoy, rather than feeling pressure and expectations from others to do things a certain way.
I agree 100% – make Christmas work for you. So what if your Christmas doesn’t look traditional? We often have lasagna for Christmas dinner, because it’s my husband’s favourite and our tradition is that everyone gets to pick their favourite food for Christmas dinner. This year he’s gone with roast lamb instead, while our son has chosen nachos and our daughter has chosen tacos and I’ve gone with my usual choice, watermelon. Usually, we round off the day by watching a stupid comedy horror film once the kids are in bed. The tradition started because Christmas was so stressful and we needed the release of tension that only a good bad horror film can give you; but since we’ve successfully reclaimed Christmas, now we do it just for fun. We’re already looking forward to Zombieland: Double Tap this year, although for my money you really can’t go past Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Not only is it wonderfully awful, you also learn stuff, like that Lincoln’s mother was actually killed by a vampire.