This is the final month of the 52 Weeks Savings Plan!
The year ends with a month full of celebrations and deals. Remnants of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday may be found at the beginning of the month. Holidays this month are Hanukkah (10), Winter Solstice on the 21st, Christmas (25), Kwanzaa (26) and New Year’s Eve (31). Not to mention holiday festivities, get-togethers and winter weather all month long. Here are some of the best deals you’ll find this month.
There will be deals on feast items for post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas, and post-Christmas. Discounts will vary, but you’ll find them both before and after each holiday. You will also find the following on sale:
- Dried fruit
- Baking supplies like flour, sugar, and yeast
- Pie crusts and dough
- Pies and fillings
- Cake mixes and frosting
Holiday specialty items like eggnog, cider, gravy, stuffing and boxed potatoes will also be on sale. If you do a lot of baking year-round, stock up on those ingredients, both from scratch ingredients and mixes. Even in their current packaging, they can be safely stored for at least 6 months in a cool, dark, dry location. If you want to store them long-term, follow the instructions in this article for repackaging them.
Another food item on sale in December is canned goods, which can help stock up a personal food pantry or the local food pantry to help those in need. You will see sales on soup, canned meat, vegetables, and sauces. These are all worth buying for stocking-up purposes as canned foods, when kept in a cool location, have a very long shelf life. Don’t turn your nose up too much at the idea of canned food in your pantry. They can come in handy as an ingredient in other recipes and soups and stews, in particular, can be stretched to serve more people by adding rice, macaroni, etc. Here is more information about using meal stretchers — great, if you’re on a tight food budget.
Produce in season for the winter can vary by location. However, citrus fruits, winter squash, kale, chard, mustard greens, collard greens and turnips are in season. Putting nuts and citrus fruit together in a basket, along with something homemade, can make a great gift.
You will also see deals on champagne as it gets close to the end of the month for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Since champagne has a shelf life of at least 5 years, stock up and cheers! (Not a drinker of adult beverages? You may want to think twice after reading this article.)
There may still be some Thanksgiving and fall decorations, crafts and table setting items on sale that can be used for other occasions during the year or for next year. There should be deals on disposable baking pans and plastic wrap so you can stock up on that for the kitchen. Those aluminum baking dishes are great for potlucks and buy enough to use during the year when taking a hot dish to a family in need.
Foil is a great thing to have on hand for outside cooking, even if December temperatures aren’t the best. Buy plenty of rolls, especially if you have coupons, and set it aside for camping next year.
You’ll also find some good prices on cookware and kitchen appliances. Stores know people will be doing a lot of cooking and will try to lure them into the store with those deals.
For electronics, December is a great time to buy TVs, computers, cell phones, camcorders, GPS units, and many electronics in general. Anything with a camera or video camera can be very useful when you need to document household inventory for insurance or if there is any damage to your home or property after a disaster. December is also a great time to stock up on batteries of all kinds of electronics (put some in the bug out bags, too).
TIP: Stores often try to get rid of showroom models at the end of the year to make room for new inventory. Ask if there are any showroom models available for purchase.
For gifts, a lot of jewelry is on sale in December. You can also find toys, gift sets, and board games. Restaurants that have gift cards offer some great deals, too, such as buy a $25 gift card and get a $5 card for free. You may also find some deals by visiting local craft fairs. Sometimes, they may offer unique items that aren’t necessarily cheaper than a store but could save you shipping and it supports people in your local economy at the same time.
Winter clothes and coats start going on sale in December in a lot of places because people already have their coats purchased for the season and, of course, retailers want to tempt you to buy more. Consider buying the next size up if you have children or get some extras to stash in vehicles or bug out containers. At the right price, extra coats can be purchased and donated to homeless shelters.
If you are considering fixing up your house, this is the month to buy carpeting, flooring, and tools. Some tools, such as hammers and shovels, are great to keep in a vehicle for the winter season. Can you really ever have enough tools? and they make great gifts.
Thrift stores often have discounted items over the holidays as they see more things coming into their stores. Many people would rather donate items than sell them during the holidays due to weather and lack of time, and some people are selling off unwanted items via Craigslist or consignment stores in order to raise a little extra cash for their own holiday spending. This article explains how social media can also turn up some great bargains in unexpected places.
Outside the home
Outdoor sports equipment is on sale during winter since it’s out of season. Think your children might join soccer or baseball in the summer? Buy the gear now if it’s discounted. Bought new, sports gear can practically break the bank! On the flip side, if you have sports gear still in excellent condition, this is a great time to sell it, since it also makes a great Christmas gift.
If you can find it, pools, pool gear, and golf equipment should all have some good discounts. Outdoor patio equipment, including gas grills, are in the same boat. Cooking with a gas grill can be a great backup cooking method for when you face a possible power outage.
Cars, motorcycles, and bicycles are also on sale in December. Check out the deals at a local dealership this month if you think you need a new or replacement car. Make sure it can fit everything your family needs in case you ever need to evacuate. Bicycles are another alternative if you had to leave your home and the roads or damaged.
TIP: You may not be thinking “emergency evacuations” right now, but winter is a common time for power outages and devastating storms. Check out my newest book, all about this topic!
If you are in the market for a house, the winter months can create motivated sellers. There will be a drop in people looking for homes during the winter because it’s cold and they would rather not move during the school year. Take advantage and see if you can find someone who has been trying to sell since the summer. Families with children are in a hurry to move and get their kids settled into a new school, so if you are pre-qualified and can move quickly, you may end up in the house of your dreams!
Discounts on travel
You can find travel deals in December by thinking of where most people want to go in the summer. Look at beach locations for a great deal. Weddings get cheaper in the fall and winter as most people try to have spring and summer weddings. We personally got a great deal for our honeymoon with a stay at a 5-star resort because it was a few days before Christmas and it was their slow season.
You can sometimes find good airfare prices for travel between Thanksgiving and December 20, because most people stay home between the holidays.
December is also full of special, fun days that many companies use to generate sales, traffic, and holiday excitement. They will almost certainly have special offers and events to celebrate. You can even have fun with these at home — make a special recipe to enjoy or share, read a story about the food being celebrated, go to a local event.
1 – Eat a red apple day
7 – Cotton candy day
8 – Brownie day
9 – Pastry day
12 — Gingerbread house day
13 – Cocoa day
16 – Chocolate-covered anything day
17 – Maple Syrup day
18 – Bake cookies day
19 – Oatmeal muffin day
24 – Chocolate day
25 – Pumpkin pie day
27 – Fruitcake day
Winter tips to help your 52 Weeks Savings Plan
This is also the time of year when food and toy drives kick off. There are many people in need around us. If you find a good deal, pass it along to someone who needs it more. With the crazy weather events of 2017, there are still many, many people suffering from the effects of wildfires and multiple hurricanes.
Some family winter activities that don’t cost a lot of money are going to see Christmas lights in different neighborhoods, go on a walk while drinking hot chocolate, have a snowman building contest and see what local festivals and tree lighting events are in your area. One year we printed out certificates labeled, “Best Christmas Lights”, “Most Creative Christmas Lights” and “Best Religious Display”, rode our bikes through our neighborhood one night, and awarded those certificates to unsuspecting neighbors!
There is one month left to make deposits in retirement accounts, decide how to spend health savings account money and make donations for a tax write-off. Make the most of it! If your health insurance deductible has been met, this is the month to get prescriptions refilled at their lowest cost and get any and all health issues addressed.
If you followed the 52 Weeks Savings Plan, you will have $1,378 by the end of the month – congratulations! If you haven’t been able to put that amount away, be proud of what you did save this year and start planning for next year. Saving money can take some planning and determination, but it can be done!
TIP: Make a list of all the presents you plan to give in the next year and keep an eye our all year for possible gifts when there are deals rather than buying something at full price at the last minute. Think of holidays, graduations, weddings, baby showers, teacher thank yous and hostess gifts, along with birthdays and Christmas.
- Learn more about the 52 Weeks Savings Challenge here and customize it to your own income and circumstances with these tips.
- Join Survival Mom’s 52 Weeks Savings Club on Facebook. We’re over 2500 members and going strong!
- Dave Ramsey has solid advice for taking control of your finances. I recommend his basic book, The Total Money Makeover for an easy-to-follow plan and a quick, motivational read.