The holidays are approaching, and everyone you know is searching for the best gift ideas and money-saving deals. Enjoying the holidays doesn’t take much money, just a plan, and creativity. If you want to enjoy more time and worry less about spending too much, check out these 10 tips to help you do both.
- Rein in your Spending
- Make a List and Check it Twice
- Set Limits Around Gift Giving
- Gift your Time
- Make it Yourself
- Embrace No Gift Giving
- Make it a Potluck
- Give Back
- Use Coupons to Save
- Shop Post Holiday
This holiday season may be a time for some new holiday traditions. Save money by reducing holiday spending and foster those holiday moments you've come to love. It's all in the planning.
Rein in your Spending
With all the great Black Friday deals and shiny new products, it’s easy to overspend during the holidays. If you want to keep a tight rein on holiday spending this season, the first step is to create a holiday budget.
Plan how much you can spend on gifts, food, decorations, and holiday travel. Add a little extra for unplanned purchases, so items you can’t pass up don't ruin your holiday budget.
Make a List and Check it Twice
After creating your holiday budget, list the names of family, friends, and loved ones you plan to purchase gifts for. Focus on how much you have available to spend other than what you want to buy.
The easiest way to trim a holiday budget is to shorten the length of your list. Check it twice. If your list is too long, consider pairing names or spending amounts.
Set Limits Around Gift-Giving
Rather than shopping for everyone in the family, organize a gift exchange system in which everyone buys and receives one gift. Set a spending limit for each gift. To make it more fun, choose a theme or random gift exchange.
Another idea is to gift only grandkids or kids under 18. After all, going into debt because of gift buying is not an enjoyable holiday experience for anyone.
Gift your Time
Time is your most valuable asset; it cannot be bought or replaced. Consider gifting your loved ones with an experience of time spent as a family, delivering a home-cooked meal, babysitting, massaging tired feet, or something memorable this holiday season.
Make it Yourself
Do you still have the blanket your grandmother or loved one made you as a child? Any treasured gifts made with love occupying space in your heart? Consider crafting a treasured item for those closest to you.
Suppose you practice a craft like sewing, carving, drawing, baking, jewelry design, or crocheting. In that case, there’s a good chance someone in your family might prefer the time and thoughtfulness behind a homemade gift instead of something factory-made or store-bought.
Embrace No Gift Giving
More and more families are focusing on the holiday experience over gift-giving. Whether reconnecting, giving back to the community, being kind to strangers, or reaffirming your faith, gained perspective provides comfort and the strength you need to stick to your holiday budget and financial goals.
Make it a Potluck
Planning and purchasing items and food for a holiday party is a considerable investment of time, money, and energy. Share the responsibilities by having guests bring their favorite side dishes, drinks, party ware, decorations, and desserts. This tip can add significant savings and allow guests to share the limelight.
Instead of focusing on holiday gifts, choose an activity that friends and family will cherish forever. Consider spending time as a family serving at a local soup kitchen, nursing home, or community outreach event. Another idea is to spend the day cooking food and delivering homemade meals to community members who work during the holidays.
Use Coupons to Save
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If you aren’t visiting family and friends until after the holiday, consider postponing your shopping. You’ll find great clearance deals on houseware, toys, clothes, and more by waiting until after the shopping season.
Another gift idea: gift your kids with gift cards and take them shopping after the holiday to teach them how to get more “bang for their buck.” It’s never too early to start educating kids about budgeting.
Perhaps the best tip to plan for next year’s holiday season is to set aside a little for your holiday expenses each month. Some banks and apps have a “round up” savings or a Holiday Club account. When you take time to budget and plan wisely for your holiday spending, you decrease anxiety and gain control of your money and your life.