Enjoy the holidays while still saving for the big day


Photo Illustration: Bryan Langfeldt/Iowa State Daily

It is a good idea to set budget limits in advance while planning weddings so that money doesn’t become an issue later.

Danielle Gibbons

The wedding is coming quick, you’ve already exceeded your budget and now Christmas is here. What are you going to do? It sounds crazy, but there are ways to save during the holiday season while still getting everyone something original and creative.

Here are two big tips to be creative this season without breaking the bank.

Tip 1:

Make gifts from scratch. You don’t always need to buy gifts from the store. Here are some hand-made gift ideas that cost less than $10 to create.

Cookie jar recipes

Find an easy cookie recipe with little ingredients, layer the ingredients in the jar and decorate the outside of the jar to make it creative.

Holiday dessert platter

Find a few different recipes for holiday desserts and scatter them on a Christmas platter. These can range from chocolate-covered pretzels to ginger bread cookies. The options are endless.

Photo albums

Find some photos of you and the person that the album is for, purchase a cheap photo album and fill it up. After the photos are in it, find some cute holiday stickers and add some in the album.

Picture frames

Same goes for a picture frame. Choose the photo and some decorations to add to the frame and you’re done.

Holiday recipe book

For the cooks in your family, find some creative new recipes, a cheap book to put them in and buy some cute stickers to add for decoration.

Themed gift baskets

Buy or make some holiday desserts add in something like a holiday ornament and holiday decor. Put it all into a basket with some filling paper to make it look organized and there you go.

Personalized calendars

Buy a blank calendar, add in events and decorations to make it personal for the person your giving it to.

More can be found at “A Do-It-Yourself Christmas: 34 Great Homemade Gifts You Can Make” on getrichslowly.org.

Tip 2:

Don’t go out to eat a lot. Cook meals at home or make meals with friends. I know it’s hard to cook for two people, but it’s definitely possible. It can be cheaper than going out every night if you do it right.

Keep your going out to a minimum. Movies, bars, concerts, etc. — it needs to be cut in half. If you want to spend more money on your wedding, you need to cut down on other activities.

There are plenty of things to do while also saving money.

Here is a list of things to do with your significant other during the wintertime that are cost effective.


Sledding can be free if you find the right place. Sleds are cheap at Walmart and that’s all you need. Bundle up, grab your sleds and go for it.

Snowman building

This sounds silly, but it’s actually fun. You probably haven’t done it since you were little and you just don’t remember. But trust me, if you both go out and commit to actually attempting to build a snowman, it will definitely be a successful, fun activity.

Ice skating

There is an ice skating rink in Des Moines, only about 40 minutes away, and it only costs $3.50 for adults Monday through Friday before 8 p.m. and $5.00 for adults Friday after 8 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays and on holidays. Skate rental is $3 per pair at the Brenton Skating Plaza. This is a cheap, fun and romantic date for two.

Movie night at home with hot cocoa

It’s so easy to rent a holiday movie, cuddle up on the couch and drink hot cocoa for a night in. Very romantic and your significant other will be sure to thank you for such a thoughtful night.

Jolly Holiday Lights

This is located in Des Moines at Waterworks Park and is open Nov. 23 to Jan. 1. This is a fun charitable holiday event that is romantic for the two of you.

Snow Magic on Main Street

This event has a ton of activities starting Friday and going until Dec. 4. There are cooking classes, tree lighting, violinists and the list goes on and on. For more information, visit mainstreetculturaldistrict.com.

There are so many options to save money, but still have a great holiday season. Think about what you are spending your money on and what you’re saving up for!