The holidays will be here soon and they are a “season”, not just a singular day or event; and, there can be several events! There may be parties and celebrations where you are expected to bring a dish, and/or provide a gift(s) and also meet family and friends out for lunches and dinners. The costs add up!
The holiday season can also include other celebrations such as birthdays, anniversaries or even weddings. Finally, winter is the time where added expenses can come into play such as higher utility (e.g., heat, electric) bills, and unexpected car expenses like batteries and tires that need replacing.
How do you cover these expenses without completely exhausting your budget and getting yourself in post-holiday debt?
Consider several of the suggestions below to help reduce the expense and stress of the holiday season. Ideally, an early and clear plan communicated to your family and friends can help a lot! If you haven’t already, check out Budgeting for the Holidays – Part 1 for more tips!
- Try not to get too caught up in Black Friday deals. Many times, people spend far more on other items than they actually save by battling the crowds and spending a lot of time and gas.
- Don’t forget discount and dollar stores for cards, tissue paper, gift bags, boxes, and small thoughtful gifts like candles and picture frames.
- Delay some family and friend get togethers to late December or January to take advantage of fantastic post-holiday sales. Remember, it is really your thoughtfulness that counts the most.
- Shop post-holiday sales for gifts for next year.
- Consider buying everyday use gifts. Buy someone’s favorite cereal, coffee, muffins or snacks. Gift cards for essentials like groceries and gas are also often appreciated.
- If your family and friends have favorite charities, you can make small donations in their name (e.g., an animal shelter or food bank).
- Make a pact to exchange gifts you already have in your home with friends and possibly some family members.
- Gifts can be experiences! Offer babysitting services, wash someone’s car for a few months, pet sit or do errands. You can get really creative here.
- Be truthful with yourself and your family about what you can and can’t afford. Set expectations early to help avoid disappointment.
- What you can’t buy during the holidays is an opportunity for the next holiday season (or for a birthday or other special occasion) and you can use the added time to save.
- Finally, try to avoid the mindset that your love for your friends and family equates to how much you spend on them. Most of the time, it is not feasible to buy everything we want to buy for everyone we want to buy for without significantly hurting our budgets and our overall financial well-being.
If you’re dealing with high interest debt payments as well, see what you can save with Parachute’s Debt Management Plan https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/dmp-calculator/
Would you like to meet one-on-one with one of our Financial Counselors to talk specifically about your budget? Check out our Financial Coaching Session https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/services/credit-budget-counseling/#financial-coaching or call 716-712-2060.