Saving for the holidays and sticking to a Christmas budget can feel stressful, particularly without a strategy in place. To bring a sense of ease and enjoyment to all the celebrations ahead, I'm sharing money-saving tips and best practices for the holiday season.
Plan Activities by Month
Decide on your ideal monthly spend, and then plan your activities and events around your budget. You'd be surprised at the number of free or inexpensive things there are to do around you. It just takes a bit of time and research.
This candy cottage is a low-cost holiday investment as it's reusable and can apply to any holiday.
Host a Potluck
If you're typically the family host for holiday dinners, see if you can turn it into a fun event through a game or competition. Pick a theme or an entire dinner from a recipe book and have everyone sign up for a dish. While you're enjoying your meal, discuss the recipes and everyone's thoughts on the adventures of putting each dish together. This option is ideal for families that get joy from cooking.
Plan Your Present List
Planning your gift list and setting a budget will help relieve the holiday stress by giving you a visual of what you are spending and where opportunities are to bring costs down. Download my holiday gift planner to get you started. Read the below two sections for suggestions on cutting the list without ending the festivities.
Substitute a Gift Exchange for Individual Presents
This idea is perfect for large groups of friends or extended family members. Instead of purchasing a present for each person, buy one present only and do a Secret Santa or White Elephant exchange.
Choose Inexpensive Gift Themes
For groups of friends, spending $25 each can add up quickly. Send a friendly note to see if everyone would be up for doing something low-cost, such as a cookie trade or wine exchange.
Cookie Trade: Create a mini tasting by having everyone bake their best cookie recipe and bring a plate full to the party. You can make it a competition by taking a vote on the crowd's favorite.
Wine Exchange: Assign a name to each person, similar to Secret Santa, and have everyone bring a $10-$15 bottle of wine that best describes that person's personality through the type of wine and even the brand name. Take turns unwrapping the wines and explaining why the person and that bottle make the best pairing.
Buy in Bulk
This practice is best for stocking stuffers or coworker gifts. Purchase a bath bomb set and stick one in each stocking, or buy a box of hot cocoa and pair a packet with some marshmallows in a holiday-themed to-go cup.
Purchase Gifts from the Same Place
Not every business is a one-stop shop but look for opportunities where you can consolidate on shipping costs. Most places will offer free shipping over a specific purchase limit, and picking multiple presents from the same store will help you reach it without spending more on something you weren't planning to buy.
Look for the Best Deals
Before finalizing your purchase, check other websites and do a promo code Google search to ensure you're getting the lowest price they're offering. When searching those cyber and Black Friday deals, be mindful of whether they're covering your gift list or adding to it.
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What are your best tips for Christmas budgeting without feeling you're compromising on the Holiday? I wish you and your family a lovely holiday season.
Until next time,
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