Keeping the holidays festive without spending a pretty penny doesn’t seem possible sometimes. Even though we’d all love to make “big” purchases, the budget isn’t always willing. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to keep your costs down without losing your holiday spirit.
- Make a list and check it twice (at least) – Decide on a budget you can comfortably live with for food, gifts and decorations. Having a specific amount in mind will help you avoid overspending. Also, be sure to watch for coupons or grocery flyers for food items that are on sale. Keep an eye on department store sales and online offers for gifts and decorations. By planning even a week or two ahead, you can tap into sales on just about everything you might need, at discounted prices.
- Keep it simple – Don’t go overboard with new decorations when you can spice up last year’s decorations with inexpensive ribbons, sequins or homemade art. Gifts don’t need a high price tag to be meaningful – such as a fun coffee mug for Johnny’s teacher or a pair of gloves for cousin Bessie.
- Make it yourself – Why not create a collage of family photos or have the kids make jewelry, perhaps a beaded necklace or pair of earrings? Whip up a batch of homemade cookies, soaps or candles and then present them in a colorful holiday tin from a local craft store. A hand drawn card can be a nice touch, too. Homemade comes from the heart and can be so much more precious than anything store-bought.
- Leave the credit cards at home – If you don’t have the cash, don’t buy the gift. While credit cards may seem to be a good solution, they could end up costing a lot more money in interest changes over time.
- Consider shrinking your gift-giving list to just the immediate family. Here’s a great system that has worked well for many budget-conscious families: Everyone draws the name of one family member from a hat and buys a gift only for that person. You can also put a cap on the dollar amount everyone can spend.
The holidays should be filled with family, friends, laughter and good cheer. These simple tips can help make this your best holiday ever – free of financial stress, worry and care.