We all know that the holidays are about spending time with friends and family, and savoring our moments together over hot cocoa, games, and cider. But, with so much fun and excitement around holiday presents, it’s almost too easy to get caught up in the joy of gift giving that we end up over-spending. This holiday season, we’ve put together these money saving tips to help you have fun this holiday season without ringing in the New Year with a pile holiday debt
1. Define your budget
I know, I know… you hate the “B” word. Heck, even I want to hit the backspace button and remove the word, but let’s face it: budgets ultimately get us what we want in the end, so it’s actually a pretty cool thing — and no one has ever complained about having too much savings. Like ever. So, put a cap on what you’re willing to spend this holiday season. Whether it’s $100, $500, or $1000+, the point is to know how much money you can spend. Once you have that number, divide it up by how many people you are buying for and decide what portion of your budget you should allocate to each person. This little “B” word can save you a ton of money by keeping you from getting carried away as you shop. Stick to it. You won’t regret it. But, you will regret it if you don’t.
2. Cut back on extras
This is the season when we tend to spend the most. And, once the credit cards start coming out it’s hard to put them away. I don’t know about you, but I have noticed that I can walk around a whole mall and not spend anything, but the moment that I make a purchase at a store, suddenly I’m buying everywhere. It’s like I let the beast out and it wants to go shopppppping. Be smart. Stick to your budget and don’t buy things you don’t really need and that aren’t on your list.
Sometimes we also have to cut back on the little things during the holiday season to afford the gifts and experiences we want to have instead. Cutting back on those extras can really impact your bottom line. If you buy a regular late one time a day at Starbucks, you’re spending $137.95 just on coffee. That money could go to buying a few holiday gifts, or pay for your trip to your parents’ house. Before splurging on those little “extra” things, just make sure they’re actually worth it.
3. Choose cheaper traditions
Traditions are important, but if your traditions include spoiling your kids with ridiculously extravagant presents, traveling, or going to a holiday attraction, why not consider doing something else that will be just as fun or meaningful without breaking the bank?
My favorite traditions include:
– Getting a holiday tree and decorating it
– Making cocoa and watching a holiday movie
– Baking cookies and holiday treats
– Doing a holiday craft (there are tons of free holiday craft ideas here)
– Reading a holiday book with the family
– Driving around to look at holiday lights around the neighborhood
– Caroling (even though I’m sure my neighbors hate my falsetto)
– Building a snowman
– Making a gingerbread house and then eating it!
– Seeing a local holiday play or production at a local college
– Volunteering at your local church or shelter
– Meeting santa at the local mall
The key here is to teach your kids and your family that the holidays aren’t about how much money you spend, but spending time together.
4. Use Secret Santa
My family is huge. While I only have one brother and one sister, I have 8 nieces and nephews, 82 cousins, 6 aunts, 7 uncles, and that doesn’t include extended in-laws, or great aunts and uncles. Buying a gift for every person in my family would cost a fortune. But, even buying a single present for the 5 people in my immediate family can really add up. Save yourself the hassle and eliminate the risk of hurting anyone’s feelings for not being able to purchase a gift for them by doing a Secret Santa. In case you don’t know what a secret Santa is, it’s where each person in your family is given a single name for them to anonymously buy a gift for – and that’s it. This is a fun way to organize gift giving while saving the bank. My family did secret Santa one year, and it was really fun and exciting to get an anonymous gift from a family member, as well as to learn about the person I had to buy for.
5. Buy and sell on AdYoYo to make or save money
Did you know that the average household has $3,100 worth of unused items just lying around? Why not make some extra holiday cash from that jacket you bought on a whim and have only worn a few times, or from that small television you just replaced? Not only do you create more space in your life, but you get to fatten your wallet at the same time. It’s a win-win.
Also, be sure to check out the great deals we have on the app. Often, you can find the same gifts on AdYoYo that you’d look for at a large retailer at 60% off the regular price — and you can also discover your local community of artisans who are selling their unique, custom and handmade products that you won’t find anywhere else.
6. Have a potluck
Holiday feasts can really add up and break the bank. Each year I spend Christmas dinner at my aunt’s house. She hosts about 50 people every year for Christmas dinner — and prime rib, twice baked potatoes, and green beans are always on the menu, plus what seems like an endless flow of wine. To say the least, it’s an expensive dinner production that she puts on, and not only is it financially draining, it’s exhausting. Instead of trying to do it all on yourself, why not ask guests to bring a side dish to a main meat you’re providing or a bottle of wine. This not only makes guests feel like they’re a part of making a magical holiday feast (“OMG, I loved your sweet potatoes!”), it also helps you keep your sanity and money where it belongs: in check.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the cycle of spending during the holidays. This is when every big brand’s marketing department pulls out the big guns and tirelessly tries to get your to spend with them. In the spirit of the holidays and gift giving, we are all easy targets. This holiday season, you don’t have to break the bank to have a wonderful holiday. Holiday traditions, keeping your focus on family and merriment, and a sensible spending limit will ensure that your holidays are fulfilling and that your 2018 wallet is full, as well.