Christmas is just weeks away, but if you’re unprepared, there are still ways to save money this holiday season. It just take a little planning, honestly and self control Here are five ways to cut costs last minute.
1: Make a Budget
Whether you have $100 or $1,000 to spend on the holidays, you need to make a plan on how to spend it. If you don’t, you’ll inevitably overspend in one area or have unplanned expenses pop up and bust your budget. Learn how to set a budget here.
The way you make one for the holidays is exactly like you would for the month. Simply make lines for each person and planned expenses like food, travel, décor and events. Don’t forget stocking stuffers (like I did one year!) Allocate how much you want to spend in each category and shuffle until your budget is spent. If this is your first year making a holiday budget, make sure to have a miscellaneous category for things you might not think of.
Remember to reconcile your budget by either using cash envelopes for each area or tracking your spending in your phone or spreadsheet. A budget doesn’t work unless you follow it.
2: Cull your gift list
At this point, you may realize that you have too many people to gift for and not enough cash. It might be time to decide that you don’t have to spent $5-10 on every neighbor, teacher, coworker and friend.
Remember that gifts aren’t the only way to make someone feel appreciated. For years now, I’ve only gifted to an “elite” list of my family and friends who are closest to me. Everyone else gets handwritten cards, hugs and bags of homemade cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels and other yummy treats. Consumables are always appreciated, especially when made with love.
Don’t give into the temptation to buy cheap or gag gifts. Every woman has enough cheap perfumed lotion sets and probably shoves them into a closet or drawer as she buys herself the lotion she prefers. If you wouldn’t enjoy the item yourself, don’t give it to someone else.
3: Potluck it up
Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, not putting on the perfect Martha Stewart event single handedl, so if you’re feeding more than one person this holiday season, request help with meals. Too often we stress out about making our homes, food and décor perfect (guilty) and it ends up at least partially ruining how much we are able to enjoy the moment.
Tell people what to bring and if someone volunteers to help in the kitchen, hand them a whisk. Enjoy the time cooking with them and reject the stress that comes with trying to do it all yourself.
4: Tone down décor
It can be so tempting to decorate every nook and cranny of your home for the holidays and even easier to spend hundreds of dollars doing it.
Christmas décor is incredibly overpriced and the companies who produce it play completely into it, jacking up prices because they know you’ll be distracted by all the glitter and holiday cheer. It may not feel like it, but adding a few things for you or your home to your cart definitely adds up money-wise.
There are also fairly simple do-it-yourself décor options like holiday pillow covers, ornaments, wreaths and more that can be frugal alternatives to store-bought goods, just be mindful of material costs. Stores that sell trees often give away cutting
s that can be made into garlands, wreaths, tablescapes and more while also making your home smell incredibly Christmas-y.
5: Know when to stop spending
Once you start shopping, it’s hard to stop. We get a natural high when buying and the holidays are the perfect excuse to shop since we are obligated to purchase gifts for other people. Remember what is really valuable about the holiday and stop yourself. Once you’ve hit your budget, it shouldn’t matter if you find the holy grail of presents, you need to stop (or return the other stuff). Holidays are about family and love, not finding the ultimate gift or spending more than another person.
Whatever you do, don’t go into debt for the holidays- you don’t want to start 2018 paying off 2017. It’s okay to have a smaller Christmas you can afford.
- What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
- What’s your favorite holiday memory?