HOUSTON - The National Retail Federation expects people to go big on home decorations for the holidays this year after spending 20% more on Halloween decorations.
We went to some experts to get Smart Sense on how to save on making your home festive.
Every year, strings of holiday lights end up in landfills that could simply be repaired.
"Let's look and make sure a bulb didn’t fall out, the glass didn't break, let's start there. I’m going to say we fix one in five light sets without needing a tool," said John DeCosmo, President of the Ulta-Lit Tree Company.
Experts say most failures are due to a shunt issue. A tool such as the LightKeeper Pro or LED Keeper, which run about $20 to $30, can detect and repair it.
"Pull the bulb out of the socket, and insert our socket into that bulb. You want to make sure the metals align, and just come in and start pulling the trigger," DeCosmo showed us as the lights turned on.
To cut your electric bill, put lights on a timer. LED lights use less energy and have come down in price.
Before you buy new ornaments, wreaths, or decorations, take inventory of what you already have. You can repurpose things for multiple holidays.
"An example is you can buy a red vase that could be used for Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Fourth of July," said Corrie Hartman with Closets by Design.
You can trade decorations with a friend for free, or buy them for a few dollars at thrift stores, or online through Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, and Etsy. Buy decorations you can use year after year.
"It gets overwhelming when people start to realize all the stuff they have and think about where they’re going to store it," said Hartman.
Use items you already have around the house to decorate, such as ribbon, nuts, dried fruit, or take clippings from shrubs and trees.
Buy wrapping paper that can be used for any holiday or birthday. You'll use more of it and have to buy it less often.
Store decorations in clear and sturdy bins so you can see what you have and keep it protected.
"You have to look at them and see what’s going on, where did you put it, and maybe you give up and go buy something else. So you’re wasting money as well as space," said Hartman.
Closets by Design has more tips: store ornaments in an egg carton to protect them, and hang light sets on a hanger so they don't get tangled or damaged.
The Houston Zoo recycles holiday light strings. You can donate them rather than toss them in the trash.