The holiday season is in full swing and I can already feel my bank account cringing. Between gifts, decorations, meals, and parties, the expenses can seriously add up. I’m working extra hard this year to keep my family’s spending in check and under control. My goal is to enter the new year without a cloud of Christmas debt hanging over me. Here’s how I’m making an effort to save money over the holidays…
Make a budget and track your spending.
Write down all of your holiday expenses and their estimated costs. And be thorough! It’s easy to forget that new string of Christmas lights, the bottle of wine for the company party, or the giant roll of wrapping paper you picked up at Costco, but every little thing adds up. It can be a wake-up call to see it all on paper and this is the time to be strict with yourself. Now that you see the grand total, don’t be afraid to adjust what you had originally budgeted for, especially if the amount seems overwhelming.
Once you’ve made your budget, don’t forget to check back in on it regularly. Fill in how much you’ve actually spent on things as you go and re-evaluate as necessary.
Embrace the potluck and the Secret Santa gift exchange.
Food and gifts are the two biggest holiday expenses in my house. I love to cook a giant Christmas dinner, usually go overboard on the holiday baking, and my gift list seems to grow a little longer every year. I’m learning to embrace new traditions not just for the sake of my wallet, but for my own mental wellbeing.
They may be delicious, but holiday meals can be stressful and expensive. A potluck is the perfect way to dole out some of the work to others and save on groceries. If you’ve taken on the responsibility of hosting, let your guest help out by bringing a side dish, dessert, or a beverage. Not only will you save money, you’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the holiday.Forget holiday #stress. Bring on the #potluck! Click To Tweet
We’re all getting older and let’s be honest, how many presents do we really need? My extended family has started to realized that Christmas is all about the kids and us grownups don’t actually need much. Enter Secret Santa! Draw names so that each family member is only purchasing a gift for one person. It makes it a little more fun and mysterious, and gives you time to focus on finding one perfect present.
Know when to stop.
I’m the first to admit I like to shop. A lot. So when the holidays roll around I can get myself into trouble. Have clear guidelines for what you need to, and should be, spending money on and avoid all the extras. Do my dogs really need new toys this year? Seeing as how they have no idea what Christmas is… probably not. Would that sparkly reindeer figurine look super cute on my mantle? Yup, but I can certainly live without it. Try to avoid frivolous purchases and prioritize your holiday spending.
Wish me luck as I try to have my most financially sound holiday season. And good luck on your own efforts to save money this Christmas!