Survive the Holidays Without Going Broke
The holidays come at the same time every year, yet the cost of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s can be overwhelming. Many families become stressed out and anxious during this time of eating, baking, and gift giving. Christmas in particular is a holiday that tends to be quite pricey. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can reduce your stress during the holiday season and, more importantly, reduce your expenses.
First off, create a reasonable budget. While you shouldn’t skimp on Christmas, you also shouldn’t go into debt. While many families choose to get holiday loans or put Christmas presents on credit cards, it’s a much better choice in the long-term to simply reduce your overall spending. When the holidays end, they should end. You shouldn’t be paying for your Christmas gifts months after you’ve given them.
Make a list of each person you need to get a gift for. Evaluate how much you have to spend and how much you can afford to get each person. The first way you can cut your gift-giving expenses is to shop the sales throughout the year. You can also use coupons as a way to reduce your expenses. If you’re crafty, consider hand making gifts, cards, and wrapping paper. The cost of knitting five sweaters, for example, is going to be about the equivalent of purchasing one at the store.
Finally, double up on gifts whenever possible. Give family gifts when you can instead of giving a gift to each individual family member. For example, instead of giving each of your nieces a personalized gift, consider getting something the entire family can enjoy.
Next, consider potlucks instead of a one person host for holiday dinners. If each person brings a side dish or a main course, the cost of the meal will be considerably lower than if one person was responsible for purchasing everything. An even less expensive alternative would be to skip Christmas dinner and have a casual afternoon family get-together instead of the traditional dinner.
Finally, shop early for decorations and don’t be afraid to scour local thrift shops. Many families get rid of their extra holiday trees, decorations, and ornaments when they move. Others simply choose to downsize their homes and give the excess items to thrift stores. This is a great way for you to get inexpensive ornaments, stockings, and even Christmas lights.
No matter what your holiday budget is this year, remember that the important thing is spending time with your family and enjoying one another’s company. While traditions and gifts can be important, it’s even more important to build special memories together that your family members will remember for years to come. This is something you can do no matter how big or small your holiday budget may be.