Less is More: Holiday Style

In life, there are very few aspects of living that doesn’t apply to the age-old mantra that less is more (and for things that you can count, fewer is better). When it comes to makeup, words, or creativity, the said rule applies with few exceptions; and even with the case of holidays, a season of extravagance and overdoing many things in the name of festivities and generosity, this saying still rings true. Holidays and the end of the year marks shopping season and spending left and right, be it gifts for the family, furniture for the home, or a brand new car or house for the new year. The expenses pile up, and before you know it, you’ve maxed out your credit limit! It’s not how anyone would imagine their holiday to be.

I’ve come to pick up a few tricks over the holidays on spending less and saving more, some which I hope you would find helpful even during the other months of the year. Don’t forget to share some of these tips with your family and friends if you find them helpful!

1. Consider a condo or an apartment when purchasing a new home.The Tiny House movement supports the idea that smaller is indeed better, and less is more when it comes to housing. Smaller homes are cheaper in general, and require less maintenance and cleaning. Not only will it save you money, but more importantly, it will save you time, which you can spend on more important things. Smaller homes also have a big impact on the environment as it leave less carbon footprint compared to bigger houses.

Space-saving tip: Mount bookshelves and TV screens to the wall instead of getting a separate bookshelf and TV rack.

2. Declutter your life: Less stuff, more space. Make more space for the good stuff, and for the stuff that would really make you happy. In the process, go through all your clothes, your books, and the items that have been sitting on your shelf collecting tons of dust from the previous year and decide to keep only the essentials. You can donate the stuff that are still in great condition but don’t have any more place in your home. Ever thought about how keeping your old clothes that don’t fit you anymore in hopes of them fitting you *eventually* just makes you a wee bit more depressed? A good rule of thumb should be to ditch anything that weighs you down. Who knows? Those clothes that don’t fit you anymore just might make a great addition to someone else’s wardrobe!

Here’s another way to save up on more space.

3. Purchasing new items for the household? Spend less, save more. When buying new furniture, multi-functional and space-saving pieces are the way to go. In 2015, we bought a storage bed, also called a compartment bed, for only Php 2500. We couldn’t believe how much of a steal it was for the price, but more importantly, it was the bed of our dreams: simple, practical, and efficient. The bed featured wooden panels underneath the mattress that can be pulled out to store items in the hollow space underneath the bed. On the sides of the bed, there were pull-out drawers for storing items you might need frequent access to, like clothes, shoes, or books. Our purchase of the multi-functional bed inspired our love for stackable and compact furniture pieces for our home. They took up less space, thus giving us more freedom to move around in our tiny nest.

If you’re in the market for new appliances, consider energy-efficient appliances. Sure, they maybe a little more expensive than regular appliances, but the pay-off is worth it. They slow down environmental degradation, and help reduce your household’s electric consumption. The two things you need to look for in an energy-efficient appliance is the EER, or energy efficient ratio, and the use of the inverter technology. For EER, the rule of thumb is simple: the higher the EER is, the more energy-efficient an appliance is. Meanwhile, the use of the inverter technology in many household appliances not only make them reduce power consumption, but also supports them in operating with less noise.

The Electrolux ESM09CRD-A4 has an EER as high as 11.8, which means that this AC unit would need less electricity to keep your room cool.

4. Repurposing food: Cook less, Save more. I know how easy it is to get caught in all of the festivities and want to cook so much food for your guests! However, having a few key dishes is more appetizing than overwhelming guests with too much food on the table. If you’ve cooked up a feast and have lots of leftovers, you can still recook and repurpose your food for another meal or two. Have some leftover rice? Mix it in with leftover veggies and some egg, and throw in some diced chicken breast if you have any, for an inexpensive and tasty serving of fried rice. There are other ways to recook leftover rice and make it as appetizing as ever, like turning it into Chicken Curry fried rice, or burritos! Stale bread can be salvaged by turning it into french toast for breakfast. There are so many ways to repurpose old dishes and create new ones from it. The key is to creatively whip together what you have. ;)

5. Party less, Rest more. The holidays is not only a time for gift-giving and celebrations– it’s about spending time with the people who matter most. There *will* be parties left and right, but you shouldn’t feel pressured to attend every single one of them. Give yourself a break (including a break from social media from time to time) and spend quality time with yourself, your family and a few close friends. There is joy in missing out — make sure to celebrate it during the holiday season.

Bonus: Spend less, Love more. Gifts are an important part of the holidays, so it’s understandable how many of us set aside money to buy our family and friends gifts that we think will make them happy. I know this very well because gift-giving is my love language. If there’s something I learned in the past year about smarter gift-giving, they are as follows:

  • Have a shopping list for gifts. This lets you plan your budget and prevents you from buying stuff on impulse.
  • Avoid spending so much time thinking of the perfect gift for everyone! Shopping for gifts can prove to be difficult, especially because we want to always get the perfect gift for our boss, or our parents — a gift they would love and appreciate. However, sometimes, our budget just won’t let us buy that perfect gift, and we get frustrated for not having enough funds to purchase everything on our holiday shopping list. Remember: gift-giving is supposed to be fun! Gifts do not have to be expensive as long as they’re useful and well-thought of.
  • Don’t give gifts out of guilt. 
  • Use recyclable paper bags or eco-bags when wrapping gifts. This not only saves you money and time, but also reduces our carbon footprint!
  • As cliche as it may sound, when it comes to gift-giving, it’s the thought that counts.

Low budget? No problem! There are tons of DIY holiday gift tutorials available online, from bath salts to hot cocoa mix, Christmas mugs, tile coasters, and so much more.

Which tips were you able to relate to? Make sure to sound off in the comments section below!-HANA

This blog post is in support of the #DoMoreWithLess advocacy led by Electrolux Philippines.

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