Although the approaching winter holidays are a wonderful time of year for most people, too many people abandon their budgets (and diets!) around this time. You don’t have to break the bank — instead, just follow these holiday season budgeting tricks.
Host a Potluck
If you typically host a meal for Thanksgiving or one of the winter holidays, ask guests to bring a dish with them. This not only saves you money but also reduces the amount of time you have to spend preparing the meal. It can also foster engagement or build community among everyone attending your meal.
Cap Gift Sizes
Decide ahead of time to limit the amount of money you spend on any one gift. Or set one cap for friends, another for family members, and perhaps a third one for romantic partners. Make yourself stick to these limits by using only cash to purchase gifts. Put the money you intend to use for this in an envelope and label it as your gifting funds. Another great way to rein in how much you spend on gifts: Make them wherever possible.
Set Up a Gift Exchange
If you’ve been in the habit of giving gifts to a lot of people who also gift to one another, you can simplify things for everyone by setting up a gift exchange. Write everyone’s name on slips of paper, put them in a hat and ask all the participants to draw one and keep it confidential — this makes things more fun and often makes up for any semblance of there being fewer gifts. You can even establish a spending limit with everyone and allow everyone to point out their wish lists on ecommerce websites.
Save All Year
Don’t worry about this tip for the 2017 holidays since it’s obviously too late to try to save all year. However, you can get started on next year’s holidays beginning January 1. Set aside a modest amount from each paycheck and by the time November 2018 rolls around, you might have enough to cover gifts, partygoing and even travel. This requires consistency so make your set-aside amount realistic.
Holiday Season Budgeting Tricks
The holiday season doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing kind of experience — you don’t need to be a Grinch to stick to a budget during this time of year. By not making yourself crazy about money issues, you free yourself up to enjoy the festivities more.
Readers, what do you look forward to doing this holiday season?