While it’s almost impossible to avoid spending money around Christmastime, the festivities and gift-giving shouldn’t put you in debt. Here are a few tips for an enjoyable and affordable holiday season.
Create a budget
Write a list of all your holiday purchases including presents, food, drinks, decorations and new outfits. Then, determine how much you can afford to spend on each category. To ensure you respect your budget, place the allocated money in an envelope and use that instead of your credit card.
Stagger your purchases
Start shopping early and spread out your purchases over several weeks. This will help you avoid paying for everything at once or accumulating interest on a large outstanding credit card bill. You’ll also have more time to look for deals and stock up on items like gift wrap and non-perishable food when they’re on sale.
If you purchase as much as you can nearby, you’ll save on gas and time. If you prefer to shop online, you’ll avoid exorbitant shipping fees. Additionally, sign up for newsletters from local stores as these sometimes contain exclusive offers.
Limit your expenses
There are plenty of simple ways to spend less during the holidays without missing out on the magic of the season. Among other things, you can:
• Gift your loved ones with memorable and affordable outings rather than pricey toys or gadgets
• Make certain presents by hand (personalized calendar, gourmet goodie basket, etc.)
• Wrap your gifts in items you have on hand such as newspaper or reusable shopping bags
• Organize a clothing swap with friends to refresh your holiday wardrobe
• Host a potluck holiday meal
At the end of the day, the holidays are about spending quality time with loved ones, which is truly priceless.