It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and accidentally stretch your bank account. Parties, gift exchanges, dinners, and decorations can end up being more expensive than you anticipated. However, by sticking to a budget, saving on gifts, and cutting back on other expenditures, you can enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank.
EditSticking to a Budget
- List all the categories of holiday spending you anticipate. Gifts, dinners, decorations, and travel expenses are some common expenses. Check your bank account, factor in your bills, and figure out just how much disposable income you have. Calculate how much you can afford to spend on each. Giving yourself clear limits will help prevent overspending.
- Review your accounts before and after shopping. Make sure you know precisely how much you have to spend before every shopping visit, and take note of every purchase you made afterwards. As tempting as it might be to swipe and not worry about it, ignoring your debit and credit statements are quick ways to accidentally go beyond your budget
- Bring your budget list. Every time you go out shopping, the budget list should come with you. This will help keep you on track, and make it more difficult for you to ignore the limits you set for yourself.
- Bring cash only. If you keep overspending, no matter how hard you try not to, leave your debit and credit cards at home when you go shopping. Bringing a set amount of cash will prevent you from exceeding your budget.
EditSaving on Gifts
- Buy gifts at end-of-season sales. Take advantage of the changing weather. Stores need to ditch their stock from the past season to make room for new merchandise, which means you get to save money. You can get a huge reduction on clothes, grills, camping gear, shoes, sportswear, and a number of other season-specific things.
- Buy gifts online. Items are usually cheaper if you purchase them online instead of in-store. If you’re willing to buy used items, keep an eye on eBay and Craigslist. While you might not find exactly what you want right away, being patient and checking regularly can reward you with some excellent bargains on like-new items.
- Make presents instead of buying them. A homemade gift can have more meaning than a store-bought one. A knitted scarf, a framed picture of the two of you, or even home-baked cookies can work in lieu of something from the store.
- Plan a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange. Instead of having to buy individual presents for a whole group, buying one present for a group exchange can be a fun, affordable alternative.
EditCutting Back on Other Expenditures
- Host a potluck for friends and family instead of a dinner. Potlucks are a great way for people to get together for a meal without having to spend a ton of money. Making a casserole, a pie, or bringing the wine will end up being far less expensive than providing everything for a meal.
- Make decorations instead of buying them. You can save some cash by tapping into your crafty side. Paper bag turkeys, snowflakes, and tree ornaments can all be easily made with some basic craft supplies and household objects.
- Choose cheaper festive activities. Instead of paying for the picture with Santa, opening up a gift every day for the week leading up to Christmas, or going to see The Nutcracker ballet, opt for less expensive holiday outings. Viewing neighborhood holiday lights, watching a favorite holiday movie, or seeing a high school production can be excellent alternatives.