Cheapskate readers share creative post-holiday tips and tricks

Everyday Cheapskate

I so enjoyed the unique holiday tips and tricks readers sent my way during the holidays, to be shared with you. Over and again I find myself saying, “Wow! Why didn’t I think that?”

A few weeks before Christmas, I was boiling mad at myself when I opened boxes marked “Christmas” to find supplies of cards, tags and gift wrap purchased on sale, then promptly forgotten. By then I’d repurchased so many of the things I had already. You can be sure this year I’ve filed my bargain-priced holiday paper goods under “Halloween!” You’ll understand as you read on.

Make memories. Once Christmas is over for another year, I scrapbook all the photos and handmade cards we receive. It’s great to look back over the years at all of our friends and relatives as they grow. So much creativity goes into some of these cards. The scrapbook is with all of my other photo albums, so I don’t have to wait until the Christmas decorations come out of storage to see them. — Vicky

Canned bows. I use the large, Christmas popcorn tins (cleaned and dried) to store my Christmas bows. I use one for red, another for green and the other two for gold and mixed colors. I can stack them in storage and my bows stay new looking all year. I reuse these bows for several years. — Gwen

Tree skirt. I purchased a round Christmas tablecloth at the local thrift store for 25 cents. I laundered it and have been using it for the past three years as a tree skirt. It is large enough that I just fold it in half and wrap it around the tree holder, meeting in the back. It is reusable, beautiful and easy to clean. — Darlene

Gift of photography. We have wanted family portraits for a long time now, so last summer we told our family members that we were going to make an appointment for a family photo session. The photographer took photos of individuals, small family groups and our large family. We told everyone we would pay for the session and we called it a Christmas gift, but that it was something that we wanted for ourselves. Everyone loved the idea. They were able to purchase any pictures they wanted from the studio. When Christmas rolled around, I still had the urge to give gifts so I simply bought everyone a picture frame. — Melissa

Filed under Halloween. Like many people, I buy my Christmas cards after the holidays when they are on sale. Instead of storing them with my Christmas decorations, I put them with my Halloween decorations. When I open the bin in mid-October, I have at least eight weeks to write a well-considered greeting to each recipient, and still get them mailed on time. — Rosemary

Green bag filler. It was Christmas Eve and I was frantic to finish wrapping gifts. I use a lot of gift bags, but had run out of tissue. Then I remembered all the Kohls and JCPenneys ads that had run in the newspapers. They were all the right colors: red, green and white. I ran them through my paper shredder and I had free filler for my gift bags. My recipients were very impressed with my “green” wrapping. — Jo