#596 Your Holiday Gameplan When You’re Low on Money

#596 Your Holiday Gameplan When You’re Low on Money

596 – Your Holiday Gameplan When You’re Low on Money


Do you feel like Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year…until you look at your bank account?

Kathi Lipp and her co-host Deanna Day Young have clever, creative, and clutter-free answers to the question, “How can I celebrate the holidays and not overspend?” In this episode, Kathi and Deanna gift us with ten tips to keep the cost of Christmas down and the enjoyment up.

They have ideas to help enjoy the holidays such as:

  • How to use experiences as gift ideas.
  • How to involve those you love in your decisions.
  • And Kathi and Deanna share a brilliant surprise when giving gift cards!

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Did you miss the first three episodes of this series? You can find them here:

Your Holiday Gameplan When You’re Low on Space

Your Holiday Gameplan When You’re Low on Time

Your Holiday Gameplan When You’re Low on Energy

The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home

Homesteading [hohm-sted-ing]
1. an act or instance of establishing a homestead.
2. the act of loving where you live so much that you actively ignore the fact that your house is trying to kill you on a regular basis.

For Kathi Lipp and her husband, Roger, buying a house in one of the most remote parts of Northern California was never part of the plan; many of life’s biggest, most rewarding adventures rarely are.

Kathi shares the hard-won wisdom she’s gained on her homestead journey to help you accomplish more at home, gain fresh perspective, and give yourself grace in the process. Here’s a handful of the lessons Kathi shares:

  • Prepare before the need arises
  • Everything is always in process, including us
  • Your best household solution is time and patience
  • You don’t have to do everything the hard way
  • Be open to new and better ways of doing things
  • A lot of small changes make a huge difference.
    Highly practical, humorous, and inspirational, The Accidental Homesteader will encourage you to live with more peace, joy, and contentment.

Order your copy of The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home here.

Links Mentioned:


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Which tip that Kathi and Deanna gave is most helpful to you when you are low on money? Share your answer in the comments.

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Meet Our Guest 


Deanna Day Young

Deanna lives in southeast Indiana on the Young family farm with her husband of 35 years. She and Roger have two grown daughters.

Deanna is the Director of Operations for Iron Timbers, a family-owned custom furniture business featured currently, and for several years, on HGTV’s Good Bones show. Prior to this position, she was a paralegal and managed the international trademark portfolio for 34 years for the Hill-Rom division of Baxter International. Deanna has a degree in Journalism and Speech Communications from Ball State University and a Paralegal Certification from Saint Mary of the Woods College.

Fun Fact – Deanna and her daughter are also Chi Omega sorority sisters!! Hoot Hoot.

You can connect with Deanna at deannadayyoung.com


Kathi (00:05.579)
Well, hey friends, welcome to Clutterfree Academy where our goal is to help you take small doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. And I am back with Deanna Day Young and we are talking all things Christmas, the holidays, and.

This is our series, your holiday game plan when you’re running low on blank. So we’ve already done space, time, energy. Here’s the one that I think a lot of people are going to identify with, money. When you’re running low on money, what can you do to still enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank? So Deanna, I’m gonna start us off.

Deanna Day Young (00:47.324)

Kathi (00:57.839)
And you and I each have five ideas. We’re gonna go back and forth. So number one, I feel like this is the most important one for me as I’ve done this, is to contact friends and family that you’re exchanging gifts with or that you typically exchange gifts with and set spending limits or maybe just say, can we have a pass this year? Deanna, have you ever done that? You have?

Deanna Day Young (01:23.518)
Yes, yes we did. So I have a group of friends that there are four of us that we’ve done this probably the last four or five years. We said no Christmas gifts and we go and we do an experience which actually leads to my number one or my number

you know, our next one, it’ll be my number one, our number two on our list of 10, is yes, we have done like where we will say we’re gonna go to Cracker Barrel altogether, or we’ll pick a restaurant. And have you heard of like, a lot of people have done this in the past where you go and you give an extra large tip, you prepare.

Kathi (02:01.388)
Oh, I have, yes.

Deanna Day Young (02:02.022)
And so like, yeah, so we have done this the last couple of years and it’s been so much fun. But we’ve also done before where we say we’re gonna take a spa day. So nobody’s gonna buy anybody gifts and then we just go somewhere and we do a spa day. And so it’s just really fun to do that.

Kathi (02:19.671)
Yeah, and I understand if you’re running low on money, you may be like, oh, a spa day. But here’s the thing, oftentimes you could do some of that stuff at home or you need to get your nails done anyway. Like that’s something you were planning on doing anyway. You know, Deanna, one of those things like, and we’re onto number two, brainstorm a list of fun and free things to do with those you love.

Deanna Day Young (02:33.462)


Kathi (02:48.855)
We’ve done a cookie day where everybody comes to one person’s house and what we do is we either prepare in our own homes and then we bring enough cookie dough of our recipe so everybody can take some home and then we have we bake one um one batch of it so we all get to taste it or yeah

Deanna Day Young (03:09.134)
That’s good.

Deanna Day Young (03:15.359)
That’s good.

Kathi (03:16.843)
And so everybody has cookie dough to bring home that they can do for their family or they can give as gifts. Isn’t that a fun idea? But think about something that you would naturally be doing other ways. But Deanna, let me go back to the spending limits. You have to talk about those in advance. So maybe you can’t do it for this year, but you say, hey, for next year, could we do…

Deanna Day Young (03:23.894)
That’s a great idea!

Deanna Day Young (03:42.561)

Kathi (03:45.119)
$50 limit per family or you know what could we just exchange for the kids? you know or Guys, you know instead of buying me gifts, you know what I could really use this year there are a couple of big packs at Costco of like flour or Macaroni and cheese, you know like get specific people would love I remember one year my friend I said, what do you want for Christmas and

Deanna Day Young (03:50.475)

Deanna Day Young (04:06.925)

Kathi (04:13.499)
Traditionally, you know Roger and I have had more money. She’s a single mom. She goes I would like a Costco pack of toilet paper She goes I’m so tired of running to the store paying too much and I’m like, I think we can do that for you So we did toilet paper towels And a couple of food things and it was so fun and she baked us cookies It was the perfect exchange, but you have some other ideas here of things that you can do that are free

Deanna Day Young (04:37.41)
That’s awesome.

Kathi (04:43.223)
Right? Tell me about those.

Deanna Day Young (04:43.262)
Right, yes. So, yeah, my number two is do experiences together with friends and family for Christmas. And they are, these are some ideas that are free or very, very low in cost. And so number one was PJs and pancakes. I did this with one of my groups up at church, and there’s, I think there’s six of us in our group. And so what we did is they came to my house in their pajamas or their sweatpants, whatever they were comfortable in. And…

Kathi (05:09.391)
Perfect. Yeah.

Deanna Day Young (05:11.946)
We made, I made pancakes and they each brought like a topping. I can’t even remember now, cause we did this a couple of years ago. I think somebody brought chocolate chips. Somebody brought fruit. Somebody brought a couple of different kinds of syrup. And then we just sat and we had pancakes together. And then we watched a Christmas movie. So no, yeah, it was, it was great. And we were done by, I think we were done by 11 o’clock. And then everybody had the rest of that Saturday to do.

Kathi (05:29.691)
Perfect. In the morning. I love that.

Kathi (05:40.105)

Deanna Day Young (05:40.454)
I’ve done things like that too with, you know, like with another friend where we say, you know what, let’s just spend the day together at one another’s houses. And we do the same thing. We love brownies. So we each brought our own kinds of brownies and then swatched those off. She loves, she always makes Ghirardelli like triple chocolate brownies, you know.

Kathi (05:50.115)

Deanna Day Young (06:02.282)
And then I have another kind of brownies just from a box that we make. And then we just sat and watched a couple different Christmas movies. We drank hot chocolate with our little candy cane in there. And we just had a day together that didn’t cost us any money.

Kathi (06:15.475)
I love that so much. And you’ve also done cookie baking exchanges with friends and things like that. You know what? So here’s what I am going to do with three of my friends this year. I haven’t proposed it. I’m usually the instigator of these things, but one of our friends in this group is financially, it’s really tough right now. But we are all authors and we’re all book lovers. And what I’m going to suggest this year,

Deanna Day Young (06:22.795)

Deanna Day Young (06:42.679)

Kathi (06:45.495)
That you take the three books off your shelf that you think the other three people would love So I can you know, it’s not buying everybody the same book, but it’s saying oh, I think Friend number one would love this book and I’ve already read it. So it’s not spending any money it’s just saying here’s the one I think you’ll love


Okay, this is number three. Do you really need new wrapping paper?

Deanna Day Young (09:41.951)

Deanna Day Young (09:46.882)
They did, you know.

Kathi (10:02.287)
Do you really need new ribbons? Do you really need new tags? Or do you just want new? Which is totally fine, I get it. So if you really want something new, you can limit it to one. Or go to the dollar store and see if there’s wrapping paper. But I’m really gonna challenge you if you’re really being careful about money this year, can you use what you already have? Can you use the paper you already have?

And here’s another thing I would say, look through like your birthday paper too, because you might just have some red stuff that’s hanging around or some green stuff or white. There are a million different things that you can put that on with. And I have turned birthday wrap into Christmas wrap by tying a little pine branch on it to just make it look cuter. So you can absolutely do that. Okay.

Deanna Day Young (10:54.826)
Oh yeah, absolutely.

Kathi (11:00.652)
Number four, Deanna.

Deanna Day Young (11:02.802)
It leads right into my number four. It’s all in the presentation. So my friends laugh at that, but I have said that for years and years. It’s all in the presentation. And so it doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it’s how you present it in a very special way. So let’s use, for example, a pedicure in a jar.

Kathi (11:06.315)
OK. Yes.

Deanna Day Young (11:24.086)
You could give that, you take a ball jar, you can put in a dollar pair of socks that you get, well the Dollar Tree is now 125, but a dollar 25 pair of socks, along with, you can buy those whole pedicure little kits at the Dollar Tree for a dollar 25, separate those out. So in your pedicure jar, you’ve got your socks, you’ve got all your different things for a pedicure, get a

couple maybe little fingernail and toenail jars and put that down in there or the fingernail polish and put that in there as well. Put the lid on the jar and wrap a ribbon around it. You may only have four or five dollars in that gift, but when you present it, because you’ve given it as the presentation, it looks like it is more. Another idea that I love to do, which kind of goes back to do you need more gift wrap,

is I’ve given cookbooks before, or this year we could give the accidental homesteader book as a gift, and instead of buying paper to go with that, use a dishcloth perhaps to wrap that. That’s part of the gift, and then maybe put a spatula on top, which those you can also get very inexpensive, like at the Dollar Tree, and then maybe put a spatula on top that makes it look like it’s a packaged topper. And so you really are

Kathi (12:29.314)

Kathi (12:39.088)

Deanna Day Young (12:52.098)
There’s a whole lot of good that comes in that. You’re giving a gift that’s a little bit less expensive. It’s in the presentation. And everything that you’re using to give in the presentation can be used as a gift.

Kathi (13:05.467)
I love that. It’s so good. It’s so good and it’s so true You know and oftentimes I never want to give somebody else my junk But I have a lot of good stuff in my house that I do I’ve never used you know Somebody’s given it to me or I bought a packet. You know like the ball jars you were talking about You know, I’ve got

Deanna Day Young (13:17.302)

Deanna Day Young (13:30.601)

Kathi (13:31.759)
these giant ball jars that I’m just not using right now. Like that would be such a great thing. Not everything has to come with a receipt. But it’s all about the presentation and the thought behind it, 100%. Okay, for me, number five is meal plan. This is a great time to spend as little as you can on non-holiday meals by using up what’s in your pantry, your freezer, your fridge,

Deanna Day Young (13:40.726)
Yeah, that’s right.

Deanna Day Young (13:45.58)

Deanna Day Young (13:52.731)

Kathi (14:01.211)
putting your food budget towards those fancier holiday meals. I follow somebody on TikTok. It’s called, she’s called Dollar Store Meals. And she really, she is so good about going to the Dollar Store because that is the most popular store in the United States. Like there are more of those than Walmart, than Target, than any of those. Because they’re often in rural areas like mine.

Deanna Day Young (14:11.744)

Deanna Day Young (14:23.651)

Kathi (14:30.311)
And she says, you know, here’s how to buy a week’s worth of groceries for $20. And she’s done holiday meals beforehand. And so like with like a ham steak and things like that. And so just see what can you do with, you know, can you budget and use up the things you have that are in your pantries, in your freezer.

Deanna Day Young (14:30.379)

Deanna Day Young (14:36.212)

Kathi (14:56.575)
so that later on you can do a little bit more with your holidays. And that also makes sure that your food doesn’t go to waste. Okay, we’re gonna take a quick break. We’re gonna come right back and Deanna’s gonna talk to us all about listening. We are going to want to, if we can listen and save a few bucks, it’s a good day. Okay, we’ll be right back.

Deanna Day Young (15:01.174)
Yes, that’s great.

Kathi (15:22.711)
Okay, we are back with Deanna Day Young and we are talking about how to save money during the holidays. Okay, Deanna, number six.

Deanna Day Young (15:30.846)
Number six for me is listen to what people like, what they want, what they enjoy. Maybe it’s something memorable from the past. And so like, what could you go back and do and perhaps get something that may not cost any money? So let’s just, so listen to them throughout the year. And maybe it’s like for me, my neighbor, she’s 83, I think it is, and she said,

I never go out and look at Christmas lights anymore. She’s widowed now, her kids don’t live here. She has one granddaughter that she doesn’t get to see a lot because she lives a little bit far away, but now she has her own daughter. She’s like, I just really miss going out and seeing Christmas lights and she doesn’t drive after dark. So last year I said, you know what we’re gonna do for Christmas?

Kathi (16:23.076)

Deanna Day Young (16:27.466)
we’re gonna go drive around and we’re gonna look at Christmas lights. And that’s exactly what we did. We went and we had dinner together at a local restaurant. And then we went out and I drove her around to three different local towns. And we just looked at Christmas lights. Wherever she wanted to go, like she said, I know so and so lives here and they usually have Christmas lights. So we just drove and looked at that. Otherwise we had a little map.

Kathi (16:53.884)
Oh, perfect.

Deanna Day Young (16:56.322)
from our local bank, and they have like a little place, you know, almost like a little scavenger hunt, that you can go and look at different Christmas lights. So we followed that map, and it went into three different local towns, and that was one of her best gifts that she said that she remembers. It was just time that we were able to spend together, but I wouldn’t have thought of that, but I listened to her. I listened to her say, I don’t drive after dark. I listened to her say, I haven’t seen Christmas lights.

Kathi (16:56.558)


Kathi (17:02.915)

Kathi (17:16.216)

Kathi (17:23.555)

Deanna Day Young (17:26.218)
in a lot of years because of that reason and because she’s widowed and didn’t have anyone to take her around. So that was her Christmas gift from me this last year was just really the gift of time and getting to do something that she always wanted to do for the last several years but wasn’t able to.

Kathi (17:44.467)
I love it and you know we do that every year with my mom and it’s one of her favorite things one of our favorite things It’s amazing Okay And it’s free. You know, I know gas costs money little snackies but you can also like we used to do bring a thermos of decaf coffee or of Hot chocolate and then bake some cookies and you are ready to rock and roll. Okay number four

Deanna Day Young (17:59.242)

Deanna Day Young (18:04.932)


Deanna Day Young (18:11.534)
That’s right.

Kathi (18:13.207)
I will say make your travel plans now. So, oh, I’m sorry, thank you. Okay, number seven, make your travel plans as early as possible. Get those hotel reservations if you need it. Get those Airbnb. You pay for a lack of planning. I pay for a lack of planning on a regular basis.

Deanna Day Young (18:15.99)
Number seven, Kathy.

Deanna Day Young (18:21.462)

Deanna Day Young (18:35.502)

Kathi (18:39.291)
And I’m not doing it anymore. I’m taking a look at my calendar months in advance if I can’t. But make those reservations early. You will have more choices. You’ll have more flexibility. And also, you’ll know what you’re getting into. Roger and I are going to an Airbnb next week. And I’m like, do they have a coffee maker? These are important things to know. And they don’t.

So I’ve got a mini coffee maker I am bringing with me so I can save money instead of going out to Starbucks and doing those kind of things. No we’re bringing we’re DIYing it and especially if you’re driving you can do that. We’re flying. So you know how committed I am to this coffee plan. But yeah why do places exist without coffee? I don’t understand. But make your pro your plans as early as possible and know what the situation is so that you can accommodate for that.

Deanna Day Young (19:10.059)

Deanna Day Young (19:22.026)
That’s right.

Kathi (19:36.127)
Okay, number eight, Deanna.

Deanna Day Young (19:39.434)
Number eight is to ship directly including, to save, excuse me, ship directly with gift cards included to save on shipping to far away people. So if you wanna give a gift to someone that is not going to be in person, ship it to them directly so that it saves on your shipping cost to you and then you going and shipping it to them, if possible. Sometimes, you know,

Kathi (20:05.977)

Deanna Day Young (20:10.07)
you want to include something that you’re getting. That’s obviously reasonable. But gift cards, so last year our daughter wasn’t able to come home for Christmas. So we’re like, what can we do to get her, these different things that she really did want, well, or we thought maybe she might like. And so I even purchased gift cards online.

that were sent directly to her. So you can purchase the gift card online, but then it will say what email address do you wanna use? And then I just put her email address into it. So then the gift card went directly to her. It was for a local spa. So I just went in there and she lives in Michigan. And so I just went in there and I bought the gift card, but the email address went directly to her. So we didn’t even, you know,

Kathi (20:47.919)

Kathi (20:55.366)
Oh nice.

Deanna Day Young (21:07.974)
I mean, we didn’t even have to get a card and send it in the mail. The other thing for us, we are a little nervous of sending gift cards in the mail during holiday times. People can feel that there are gift cards in there. So that’s something to think about. But as this podcast is on how we can save money, if there’s a way to ship directly for somebody who’s not gonna be there in person with you, it’s a great idea to do that so that you don’t pay double shipping.

Kathi (21:16.46)

Kathi (21:35.351)
Yeah, I love that. And I’ll tell you something that we did for a friend who lives very far away. We were all, a bunch of us were sending her gift cards and through the email. Excuse me, through email. But we wanted it to be a surprise. So we set up a Yahoo account for her that said,

Deanna Day Young (22:02.42)

Kathi (22:03.023)
her name, Christine, and then we put some random numbers after it, at yahoo.com, and we sent them all there. And then we gave her the password to that email address, and she was able to redeem all of those. Isn’t that? And it doesn’t cost you a thing. It’s super simple, super easy. I think it was actually a Gmail account, but it doesn’t matter. It worked out perfectly. OK. I’m going to continue with the gift card theme.

Deanna Day Young (22:15.074)
That’s awesome! I love that! It’s a great idea! It doesn’t! Oh!

Deanna Day Young (22:28.298)
Yeah, I love that.

Kathi (22:32.587)
And this is gonna sound a little scraggly, but stick with me, okay? 80% of Americans have gift cards that they have not redeemed for a year or longer. What if, you know, like I have GameStop gift cards. Deanna, why do I have GameStop gift cards? I have no clue. I’m guessing.

Deanna Day Young (22:33.247)

Deanna Day Young (22:37.671)
I’m with you.

Deanna Day Young (22:57.416)
I’m not sure.

Kathi (23:00.399)
that like when we moved we were cleaning out drawers and these were ones that our boys had received. But can I now use those GameStop gift cards to buy my son the game he wants? Could I now use some of those Starbucks cards to send a pound of coffee to somebody that I love? Okay, I probably won’t do that because I use all the Starbucks gift cards. Let’s be super clear. But.

Deanna Day Young (23:13.867)

Kathi (23:28.619)
You know, I’ve received Tarpa, excuse me, target gift cards for rebates, like $5 rebates. Those add up and I can use those to send a gift card. So if you have some scraggly gift cards, use those to send a gift to, you know, somebody that somebody was very sweet and bought you a spa gift card, but you’re not going to use it. That’s not your spa doesn’t take that, whatever it is.

Deanna Day Young (23:36.17)
Yeah. Right.

Deanna Day Young (23:42.635)

Deanna Day Young (23:53.141)

Deanna Day Young (23:56.586)

Kathi (23:58.255)
for somebody in your life who would love a spa gift card. I will say check to make sure that you, that there is money on that gift card. I’ll never forget, Roger received a pound of Godiva one time with a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card on it. The gift card had no money. Which I, we think.

Deanna Day Young (24:01.743)
Oh, that’s great.

Deanna Day Young (24:21.318)
Oh shoot!

Kathi (24:23.227)
that, you know, we don’t know what happened. And he wasn’t close enough to the person to say, did you mean that? He just said, thank you effusively and moved on. But dig through your gift cards. We had a lot of movie gift cards that we bought right before the pandemic and then we couldn’t use. Now we can use those to buy movie gift certificates for people we love. It’s a great way to go. Yeah, yeah. Okay, number 10, Deanna.

Deanna Day Young (24:46.826)
Yes, that’s great. That really is. That’s very good.

Kathi (24:53.347)
Bring us home with this entire series!

Deanna Day Young (24:56.474)
Okay, how to save money during the holidays here. We’re gonna look into our closets. So don’t buy new clothes, but rather make a game out of what’s in your closet. I have done this for years. When I worked at my old job, oh my gosh, it just became a game for us. I started the day after Thanksgiving, and I tried to go the entire time of not doing the same outfit. Doesn’t mean the same thing, but the same outfit for all the days.

Kathi (25:08.14)

Deanna Day Young (25:25.238)
to incorporate Christmas. Now, that doesn’t mean that I have 30 Christmas sweaters. That means that maybe I have a Christmas scarf. Maybe I wear a red turtleneck one day. Maybe I wear a green sweater another day. Bring in pins. I used to collect pins. And when I minimized those and decluttered my pins I didn’t wear, I did keep my Christmas ones. So maybe I have a big angel pin.

Kathi (25:31.468)

Deanna Day Young (25:54.442)
that I wear different necklaces that are red or maybe it has a Christmas pendant on it or earrings that have Christmas on it. So don’t think that you have to buy a new Christmas outfit. I used to think that years ago, but we don’t have to have new Christmas outfits. Find a way to put what you have together to make a new outfit for you and then just make a game out of it.

Kathi (26:11.066)

Kathi (26:18.058)

Deanna Day Young (26:22.83)
as in one of the podcasts that we did here, I can’t remember which one, if it was on saving space, but you were talking about the outfits that we wear, have your holiday go-to outfit. You don’t have to wear different outfits everywhere you go. You can have that holiday go-to outfit or look in your closet like I’m saying, put things together, make yourself a new outfit from the things that you already have.

Kathi (26:38.756)

Kathi (26:49.251)
Yes, because you’re not going to see the same people at different places So you can wear that same outfit over and over and over again And let me just also remind you because this is a decluttering podcast My my biggest tip is if when you’re going through those Christmas sweaters or I’ve got a lot of long-sleeve Christmas shirts That just have like a saying, you know, jolly everywhere or something like that If you’re not wearing them anymore

Deanna Day Young (26:55.394)
That’s right.

Deanna Day Young (27:13.258)

Kathi (27:17.295)
donate them right away. Somebody is going to love that for their Christmas outfit, especially if you have kids that have Christmas clothing. Donate it, somebody is going to be thrilled. Deanna, this has been such a great series. Thank you so much for hanging out with me.

Deanna Day Young (27:18.976)

Deanna Day Young (27:33.353)
So much fun. Thank you for letting me.

Kathi (27:35.659)
And friends, if you’ve enjoyed this series, would you consider giving us a five star rating wherever you listen to podcasts? Maybe it’s Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you love your podcasts. Those ratings help more than you know. And I’ll just tell you, we super appreciate them. You’ve been listening to Clutterfree Academy, I’m Cathy Lip. And now go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.


Deanna Day Young (28:02.999)