The holidays are upon us yet again! There’s a chill in the air, pumpkin everything has returned and before we know it Christmas music will be playing around the clock. For many people, Christmas and the holiday season can be more of a financial burden than the joyous time of year it’s meant to be. The gifts and party preparations can be overwhelming and cumbersome. But I’m here to tell you that you can do it and you will get through it without the guilt, come January. Here is my guide on how to survive Christmas on a budget.
How to Survive Christmas on a Budget
Planning ahead is so important in order to stay on budget for the holidays. Lists are your new best friend. Make a list of people you would like to buy presents for and give yourself a budget for each person. You will also need a list of parties and events you’ll be attending. Do you have to bring food or a contribution to the party? What is the expected cost of travel? These are important things to consider when creating your budget.
STICK TO YOUR PLAN
This is even more difficult than making a budget to begin with. Don’t get off track. If you must last minute shop, do take the time to make a list before you go into the store. Impulse buying can really throw things off course. Know what you are there for and how much you can spend. Do not go over your budget.
Some of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received are those that were homemade. Be creative. Homemade gifts can be inexpensive but when put together thoughtfully they are more personable than a store-bought gift.
Grandparents love to brag about their grandkids and what better way for them to do that than with a new family photo? Set the timer on your camera and print from either a home computer or for very little money at your local pharmacy, and you’ve got a great gift that they are sure to love.
Or how about a homemade card dedicating time you plan to spend with a loved one who needs a little extra help around the house? Baskets make great gifts as well. Think outside the basket box and make your own rather than buying one from the store. Do you have a recipe that everyone is always asking for? Print the recipe on some cute paper and put it in a basket with a few of the main (non-perishable) ingredients. Try these gifts in a jar or these candied nuts. Or help them capture their own memories with a memory jar!
Sometimes no matter how much you plan or try to budget, it’s just not possible to be able to give a gift to each of your friends and family. Consider suggesting in large groups to draw names or do a Secret Santa. You keep the identity of the gift giver a secret. Then on the day of the gift exchange, the recipient can guess who they think bought them the gift. It’s a fun way to celebrate the season, and it eliminates the financial stress of feeling the need to buy for everyone.
Above everything, try to remember to focus on what’s really important. Spending time with your loved ones and enjoying the holiday season. It can be stressful, but everything is what you make of it. So laugh, be merry and make the best of it!