The holidays are a time for family, friends, and of course, lots of good food. But revelry has a way of making people reckless and excessive with their spending and end up hemorrhaging money that they might not even have.
If you're looking to enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank and starting off the new year with a ton of credit card debt, here are some tips to help you out.
Set a Budget and Stick To It
I know, easier said than done, right? But seriously, one easy way to overspend during the holidays is by not having a plan in place.
So decide how much money you want to spend on gifts, food, decorations, and other expenses, and then stick to that number.
It can be helpful to break your budget down into categories so you have a better idea of where your money is going. Don't forget to account for transportation or travel expenses if applicable.
If you do need some extra money, do your research, check interest rates and payment schemes to get the personal loan that works for you. Consider lenders like CreditNinja which offers personal loans up to $35,000 with competitive interest rates.
Make Your Own Decorations
Christmas tree ornaments can be expensive, but they don't have to be. You can save money by making your own decorations using materials you already have around the house. If you have kids in the house, making ornaments would be an awesome way to create lasting memories.
There are plenty of online tutorials that can show you how to make everything — from wreaths, garlands, and baubles, to lifesize Santas and elves.
Get Creative With Gift Ideas
Rather than buying people material gifts, you can get creative with your ideas.
A white elephant gift exchange, for example, is a great way to have fun and spread holiday cheer without spending a lot of money. In this game, each participant brings one wrapped gift and puts it in the middle. Then, all participants take turns selecting a wrapped gift from the pile, opening it, and displaying it for all to see.
The person who brought the gift can steal it away if someone else really likes it, or they can take a chance and select another gift from the pile.
You could also give people homemade treats such as cookies, jams, or chocolates. Or you could make your own coupons to offer services like car washes, babysitting sessions, or snow shoveling.
You could also consider giving someone an experience they'll remember, like tickets to a show or a spa treatment. You could also give the gift of time by offering to babysit for them or help out around the house.
Cook Your Food Instead of Eating Out or Ordering Delivery
Eating out or ordering delivery food is one of the quickest ways to blow your holiday budget. On average, it's much cheaper to cook your meals at home than it is to eat out.
So grab your family and friends, head to the grocery store, stock up on ingredients and get cooking! You can make holiday treats like pumpkin pies or cranberry sauce. Or pick a recipe that everyone loves and have a potluck dinner party. Not only will this save you money, but it will also be a great way to spend time together.
Shop Smartly at Stores and Online Outlets
One way to save money during the holiday season is by shopping at stores that offer sales and discounts, or by taking advantage of online outlet stores.
If you're shopping online, make sure to look out for coupon codes and free shipping offers. You can also check websites like RetailMeNot or CouponCabin to see if there are any discounts available.
You can also find great deals by checking the clearance section of stores or searching for pre-owned items on sites like eBay or Craigslist.
Finally, if you're buying for kids, consider taking them to a thrift store and letting them pick out their own gifts. It's a great way to teach them about the value of money and have fun at the same time.
Use Your Vacation Time To Relax
Bottomline is, you don't have to do anything or go anywhere. You don't have to pressure yourself into attending every party you're invited to, or shop for a gift for every person that you know. Set aside some time to think, edit and curate your holiday activities. Figure out what you want to do.
The holidays don't have to be a time of financial stress. There are plenty of ways to save money without depriving yourself of the things you enjoy. You can make your own decorations, get creative with gift ideas, and cook your food instead of eating out or ordering delivery.
You can also shop smartly at stores and online outlets. Finally, you can use your vacation time to relax and recharge.