Affordable Outdoor Holiday Lighting

It’s officially December, which means holiday lights are popping up everywhere! I love seeing beautiful lights on trees, homes, businesses and lamp posts across town. If you’re like my family, you may have a few favorite stops for viewing impressive light displays near you. But installing your own exterior lights can be costly, dangerous and time consuming if you don’t have a plan. Here are a few ideas if you’re dreaming of installing outdoor lights for the first time: 

Baby Steps

One way to cut costs is to stick to the front roof trim of your home. Full lighting including doors, garages, roofs, chimneys, windows, wrapping the entire exterior, etc. will cost a lot more time and money. This achieves that lovely soft glow you are looking for without the hassle. Another one of my favorite ways to cheat with holiday lights is to wrap trees and bushes and a door wreath. This is fairly easy to do with a ladder and a free afternoon.

Team Up with Your Neighbors

I love it when I see a cluster of houses that clearly teamed up to collaborate on a lights theme. Getting together in the spirit of community and working together is what the holidays are all about! Assuming your HOA approves it if you have one, get together with your neighbors and see if you can go in on some lights together. I’ve seen people light fences, trees and light posts without even touching their homes (anytime you can avoid large ladders, it’s certainly safer) and it looks amazing! A little festive collaboration can go a long way!

Look for Deals to Hire it Out

Hiring to have lights put up and removed can be costly, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for a lot of free time to get the job done, you do have a few options. Although many lighting companies don’t offer discounts because this is a prime time for business, you may find some luck looking for a Groupon, or something like it. This can be a great way for companies to build their business, and you might get lucky and find a great deal! Remember, you can inquire about a ‘baby steps’ approach like I mentioned above. Don’t get coerced into doing full lights if you’d rather not assume the cost.

I know “lights envy” can get the better of you this time of year if you’d love to have beautiful lights on your home but you’ve never installed them before and don’t know what’s involved. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll have a plan that works for a beginner! For safety purposes, just make sure any extension cords and ladders you use are in good working order before starting. Happy Holidays!


Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.

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