It’s no secret that the holidays are a time of increased spending. Last year, Americans anticipated spending $794 on gifts alone. But if you plan your holiday spending with your financial goals in mind, you can keep your holiday jolly and still continue to save money.
Read on for tips to keep some of your money in your stocking this year.
1. Track your holiday spending.
Make a list and check it twice. Start with a holiday budget and track your spending to see how it’s adding up. If you snagged a great Black Friday deal, you may be able to pocket the difference between that cost and what you were planning to spend in your savings account. Also, If you’ve been saving regularly leading up to the holidays (you go, girl!), challenge yourself to keep up your regular savings contribution all the way through the holidays and into the new year. A gift to yourself, so to speak. If you plan ahead and spend wisely, you might not even miss that extra money you tucked away for later.
2. Get creative with your holiday décor.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the sparkly holiday décor you see at the stores (we’re looking at you, Target), but try to keep your spending to a minimum. If you’re longing to add something fresh to your collection this year, you could look to the great outdoors for inspiration. Pinecones, branches and twigs can be utilized in displays that will create a cheerful and natural holiday atmosphere. You can also shop thrift stores for used décor at lower prices.
3. Prioritize your favorite holiday festivities.
You may be feeling pressure from family members, friends or coworkers to attend EVERY event of the season. The holidays should be a time to celebrate, but it’s okay to check in with yourself (and your budget) to make sure your priorities are in line. Ask yourself which holiday activities and events make you feel the most joyful and refreshed and reserve your budget for those. Any extra money can be deposited in the “me” fund. #SorryNotSorry
4. Reduce the cost (but not the fun) of giving gifts.
Switch up your traditions and try a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange. Gift exchanges can reduce everyone’s burden without taking away from the spirit of the occasion. You can make your exchanges even more fun by setting a theme or challenging each other to see who can come up with the quirkiest gift. Challenge accepted!
5. Give back to your community.
Take your challenge one step further and skip the gifts altogether. Instead, you could make a collective donation to a cause that matters to you, or you could volunteer at a local shelter or kitchen that serves holiday meals. Ultimately, the holidays are about making memories with the people you love and giving back together will be a memory you can all feel good about.
With a little planning, you can enjoy the holidays without draining your entire budget, and you may even be able to SAVE during the holidays. It’s a Christmas miracle!