Cutting down on holiday spending, doesn’t have to mean cutting down on holiday fun. Here are 10 ways to plan a fun holiday without breaking the bank:
1. Create a Budget
Create a solid spending plan. Review your finances and decide how much you can afford to spend on Christmas while covering your usual expenses. Divide this amount among your various Christmas expenses – gifts, food, decorations, etc.
2. Make a Gift List
Make a list of all the persons you plan to shop for. Set a spending limit for each person and jot down gift ideas.
3. Trim Down Your Gift List
Have more people on your gift list than you can afford to buy for? Then, it’s time to give that list a trim. Look over your current list, and decide whom you have to shop for and whom you don’t. Remember: a shorter Christmas list is always better than adding debt and stress to your life.
4. Start Early
Christmas sales abound but do not feel pressured to buy items on sale that do not fit into your Christmas spending plan. Start shopping for gifts as soon as you can afford to do so, and you’ll have more time to bargain shop and feel less pressure to buy at any price.
5. Shop Smart
Giving a nice gift doesn’t have to mean spending a lot, so shop with your budget in mind. Make a note of all the places that offer discounts or competitive prices before going on your shopping adventure.
6. Shop Second-Hand
There’s no rule that says gifts have to be bought new. Scour thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and other second-hand sources for gift-worthy items at prices well below retail. Just a few possibilities: unburned candles, antiques, collectibles, vintage jewelry and books.
7. Make It Yourself
Homemade gifts are every bit as nice as store-bought gifts, and sometimes nicer. Put your creativity to work, and knock off everyone on your gift list.
8. Don’t Shop for Yourself
All of those holiday deals make it easy to adopt a “one for me; one for you” mentality. Set a rule that you’ll only shop for the people on your list – and not yourself. The pay off: less stuff in your house and more money in the bank.
9. Throw an Affordable Holiday Party
Holiday parties are a lot of fun, but they can get expensive in a hurry. Spend some time planning a party that you can afford, and then enjoy your get-together guilt-free.
10. Decorate on the Cheap
Trees, lights and baubles galore – find ways to stretch those decorating dollars and you can have it all. Use what you already have, swap decorations with friends, scour thrift stores and yard sales, make something new with your own hands – if you can envision it, you can make it happen.