Gifts aren’t the only purchases you’ll be making for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa this year. You’ll also need supplies — like wrapping paper, holiday greeting cards, and party products — and those costs can add up quick. Here are four easy ways to save on holiday supplies.
Score postage for less.
Frustrating, but true: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has temporarily raised its postage rates through January 22, tacking on from 25 cents up to $6.50 per shipped box and envelope. So how can you keep expenses down? Ask about discounts that are available from private shipping companies, which may end up being lower than USPS’s price. For example AAA and AARP members get 5 percent off domestic and international UPS shipping and 15 percent off other eligible products and services. Also smart: Buy presents from online stores that will ship for free to your gift recipient and who offer low-cost wrapping along with a customizable message, such as Amazon (about $4 to $6 per item) and Barnes and Noble ($5 per item). Not only is this a convenient time-saver, it often beats the price of paying to ship it yourself.
Grab low-cost cards.
Love the annual tradition of sending holiday wishes to loved ones but dread the high cost of greeting cards? Great news: Select Dollar Tree stores now offer a wide range of Hallmark cards (including Expressions, Heartline, Joyfully Yours, Mahogany, Tree of Life, and Vida lines) for just 50 cents. And Dollar General and Family Dollar offer single cards for $1 each and box sets starting at $3 per 8 cards. Prefer cards you can customize with your own photos and text? Staples is offering a Groupon that gives you 25 custom holiday cards with photos for only $12.50. And Costco members can customize cards at the wholesale club’s photo center for $16.49 per 25 cards.
Tip: Find free holiday decor (like a bin full of tree ornaments!) at local seller sites like OfferUp.com and Nextdoor.com. Folks who have too many are more than happy to give them away to make room in their homes.
Get deals on gift wrap.
Unfortunately, this year, the price of wrapping paper is expected to spike due to a paper shortage. To avoid the price hike and still get beautiful gift wrap? Start by heading to thrift stores, like Goodwill. Many receive donations of overstock gift paper, bows, bags, and ribbon, then sell them for a fraction of the price you’d pay in a retail store. Also smart? Buy a roll of plain white, pink, or brown butcher paper — about $13 per 100 feet at Amazon — and make it festive by adding decorations: Draw freehand with a marker, attach your favorite scrapbook accessories, or use colorful ribbon.
Tip: One easy way to save cash on gift wrap and shipping? Opt for e-gift cards, which are sent free via email. They’re offered by many stores, including Amazon, PotteryBarn, Sephora, Target, Ulta, and Zappos.
Nab cheaper party supplies.
Planning a holiday party? Find big sales ASAP, as many stores are eager to sell party products left from the Thanksgiving rush. For instance, last year post-Thanksgiving, many supermarkets (like Meijer, Publix, and Winn-Dixie) reduced the price of beer, wine, liquor, soft drinks, and sparkling cider; recipe ingredients that you can store in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer (like beef, butter, chocolate chips, poultry, and sugar); snacks (like chips, pretzels, and ice cream) and disposable goods (like plates and napkins). Check out your supermarket’s circulars to see how low their prices go.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.