The holidays can be stressful for so many reasons—you may have to host a large family dinner, track down the hottest toy of the year for your kids, or spend way too much time with your extended family. But this doesn’t mean that you need to let the financial stress of the season get the best of you. Use these 6 tips and tricks to save money (and your sanity) this holiday season.
Set a budget & make a list
Creating and sticking to a budget can stop you from spending unnecessarily. Set a spending limit and make a list of the people you’re buying for. Try your best not to stray from this list while you’re shopping (no matter how much a “buy-3-get-1-free sale" tries to convince you to). Your wallet will thank you.
The way you create your budget is up to you, but one thing’s for sure: you need one. Create yours before the season hits full steam, and revisit it often to make sure you’re spending within your means.
Embrace group gifts & Secret Santa exchanges
If you’re stressing over the costs of the holidays, you’re probably not alone. That’s why group gifts and Secret Santa exchanges are a great way to keep up the holiday spirit without breaking the bank. They allow everyone to get an actual gift and the gift of saving time and money (which, depending on your family’s gift selection taste, may be the better deal).
Don’t overspend on entertainment
Parties, travel expenses, and holiday-themed activities can all add up to destroy your budget. But they don’t have to!
Holiday activities can still be fun and memorable without being expensive. Here are some holiday favourites that won’t break the bank:
- Walking around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights
- Visiting Santa at the mall
- Making Christmas crafts
- Baking holiday treats
- Watching a movie with hot chocolate at home
- Tobogganing down a local snow hill
Suggest a potluck
It’s fun to have everyone together for Christmas. But you know what isn’t so fun? How expensive all the food, décor, and activities always are. Buying food for 30 people is seriously pricey!
Friends and family are probably happy to contribute. So instead of taking on the nearly impossible task of cooking everything yourself, let guests know you’re going to make the main dish but would love help with sides, appetizers, desserts, and drinks.
Know when to stop
When you’ve purchased gifts for everyone on your list, it’s time to stop shopping. Know when you’re finished, and avoid stopping by the mall (or checking your favourite online retailers) “just to see what they have." This makes it all too easy to make poorly planned purchases and blow your budget.
Remember what the holidays are all about
It’s easy to get caught up in the spending cycle during the holidays. Marketing campaigns are geared toward making you open your wallet in the spirit of Christmas, so it’s hard not to fall prey to them.
Remember that the holiday season isn’t all about gift-giving. It’s about spending time with family and friends and cherishing the memories you make with them. As a result, your presence is usually better than your present!