Getting Through the Holiday Season Without Going Into Debt
The holiday season is rapidly approaching. This is a joyous time of year for many, and a great time to celebrate and enjoy the company of family and friends. However, it’s also a time where a lot of people spend a lot of money. From parties, to vacations, to gifts, to everything else, the holiday season can certainly get expensive.
Here are some tips for preparing yourself for the holiday season and enjoying this time of year without breaking the bank.
Create a Plan
The first step is to create a plan for what you need to buy. Include all of your expenses for the holiday season, such as gifts, decorations, clothing, entertainment, travel, and anything you’ll need to purchase if you’re hosting or attending a holiday party.
You’ll also want to review what you already have when it comes to decorations and clothing. Yes, you may want to buy several new outfits to wear to holiday parties this season, but do you really need to? Or is there something already in your closet that would work just as well? What shape are your current decorations in? If you can reuse them, consider doing so.
When you’re coming up with your plan, note which purchases are “must haves.” For example, you might really want to travel to visit family this holiday season. If this is important to you, then it’s a “must have.” You’ll want to specify which purchases are the most important because getting all of them may not be realistic.
Make a Budget
Once you have your plan, it’s time to make a budget. Figure out how much everything on your list is going to cost. Then figure out if you have enough money to pay for it all. Don’t count on bonuses or credit cards to get you through the season. You may not get a bonus and you don’t want to put yourself in debt. Only count the money that you actually have to spend.
If you can’t fit everything you want into your budget, you’ll need to revise your plan.
The earlier you start shopping for holiday gifts, the better. This is because you have the luxury of time. You can comparison shop, shop online, change your plans based on upcoming sales, and much more. If you wait until the last minute, you might end up having no choice other than to overpay for a gift.
When it comes to shopping for gifts, try to be creative. For example, if you’re handy or skilled at making crafts, consider making your gifts instead of buying them. You could also give experiences and lessons as gifts instead of purchasing something. For instance, give a friend guitar lessons taught by you, if you know how to play the guitar, or cooking lessons if you’re a talented cook.
One good way to save some money is to get together with friends and family members and purchase some gifts jointly. Most people get too many gifts anyway and it’s a lot cheaper to pay only a portion of the cost of a gift than it is to pay the full cost.
This is especially true for children. If you have a large family, a child could end up getting an absolute mountain of gifts and likely too many to appreciate. Instead of five family members giving the child a $25 gift each, all five can chip in and buy one larger gift for $100. Not only does this actually save each person a bit of money, but it also means the child will get a larger gift that they’ll likely appreciate more.
Try the Dollar Store
You probably won’t be able to get your gifts at the dollar store (though you might), but you will be able to get a lot of other items, such as wrapping paper, cards, and even decorations. Dollar stores are great places to visit if you’re having a party. Disposable plates, cups, and cutlery are often significantly cheaper at the dollar store, and you can probably get them in holiday themes. There’s no need to pay more for something you’re just going to throw out at the end of the night anyway.