I know, I know, it’s not even November yet, and I’m posting about the holidays. It might seem a little early, but it’s good to be prepared for this money-zapping time of year.
This year has great potential to be lighter on the wallet if you’re armed with these 10 tips to help you spend significantly less over the holidays.
Bonus: A lot of these options cut down on the stress, too!
1. Plan ahead. As Dave Ramsey says, “Christmas is not an emergency”, so don’t tap into your emergency fund. You need to think about all of your expenses and figure out where that money’s coming from. Is it necessary to pick up a side gig to prepare for this upcoming holiday season? If you try some of my tips, hopefully not. But it’s important to plan for expenses, and these are a few points to consider:
-Who will you purchase presents for and how many?
-What kinds of holiday parties will you attend or host?
-Will you need to bring a dish to pass or some alcohol?
-Think about travel costs such as gas, lodging and eating out.
-Do you want to donate to charity?
-Are you sending out a holiday card?
-Think about the last few years. What other kinds of expenses came up?
2. Set limits. Talk to family and friends about setting gift giving limits. I know this might seem awkward, but it can be a big relief for stress and finances. I have talked to my family and friends about gift giving, and most agreed we would only buy presents for the kids. Another option might be setting a dollar limit or secret santa.
3. Shop early. Cut down on stress and get plenty of time to find deals. Use Ebates when shopping online to earn cash back on your purchases. Use my referral link and earn $10 when you spend at least $25. If you’re going to be making the purchases anyway, why not earn some cash back?
4. Suggest family fun. In lieu of gift giving, suggest a fun family activity to do together such as a game, making gingerbread houses, a puzzle, singing carols, going ice skating or skiing. The fond memories of quality time will last longer than most gifts.
5. Have a potluck so you don’t have to make the entire meal on your own. This makes hosting less of a time and financial burden.
6. Politely decline some activities. Only attend the holiday parties that are most important to you. It seems everyone has a holiday party, and the busyness of the season sometimes takes away from the true reason for the holidays. It’s okay to decline invitations.
7. Reuse holiday décor. It’s just not necessary to buy new things each year. Reuse or repurpose what you had last year or swap things out with a friend. If you absolutely must purchase something, check out a thrift store first.
8. Reuse wrapping materials. Save your bags and bows from previous years. I’ve also wrapped gifts with brown grocery bags. You can jazz them up with a nice (reused) bow.
9. Frugal gift ideas.
– Buy one family gift instead of five (or however many members are in the family) individual gifts. Try a game night basket with a game, snacks and fun prizes for the winners.
-Give a service instead of a gift. My grandma was looking for someone to help her out with errands and cleaning once a month. I told her I’d be glad to do it, and she was ecstatic. She told me that was best Christmas gift I could have given her.
-Try one of the frugal gift ideas from my Pinterest Board. Many are DIY.
10. Cut down on baking. It’s super fun making candy, cookies and other baked goods, but our society does not need the sugar. I’m not saying you have to completely give it up because I bet your treats are super tasty! Just maybe cut the batches in half?