The food, the shopping, the office party, the kids classroom party, booking tickets for holiday travel……all the activities of the holiday season can make your head spin as well as your pocketbook. The average shopper spends roughly $900 on holiday gifts alone. This doesn’t include decorations, travel expenses or food costs. With a couple simple tips you can keep your holiday spending in check.
- Create a budget and stick to it. Set a budget for everything on your list from decorations and holiday cards to your gift list. Make sure to hold yourself accountable and stick to the figures you set. If you are really serious about sticking to your budget, consider buying a gift card for the amount of each of your budget items. Once the card is depleted you are done.
- If you are traveling for the holidays make sure to book your flights in advance. If you utilize travel sites, make sure to compare prices to the actual airline website. Sometimes, the cost can be lower.
- Road tripping to get to your destination?? Make sure to have drinks and snacks available so you aren’t tempted to stop for fast food or reach for that bag of chips and soda when filling up for gas. Take the time to check your tire pressure including your spare. Have an emergency kit packed and check your wiper fluid in case of bad weather.
- All those twinkly lights, garland and festive decorations can add up. Make sure to utilize your decorations from year to year and update them if needed with new colorful ribbons or candles from the Dollar Store. You can also look outside for your decorations. Pine cones and evergreen branches might be available in your own back yard.
- Gift giving can be the toughest part of your budget. Make a list of all the folks you need to buy a gift for and set a price limit for each and stick to it. Consider making gifts at home for the mailman, kid’s teachers, etc. Pinterest has some easy, low-cost ideas that may take a little more time but can save you big on your budget. For the bigger gifts, make sure to comparison shop and don’t forget to check online sources for a better price. You can even check for online coupon codes to get an additional percentage off the sales price.
- Hosting an event? Simple things can keep your costs low. Consider a potluck to help on food cost, only serve a couple signature drinks to cut down on beverage costs and consider having your event with another friend or family member so you can split the cost. You may also want to have your event earlier in the day so guests don’t eat or drink as much.
- Have to bake treats for the office party or the kid’s classroom? Hitting the grocery store and purchasing pre-made goodies can be expensive. Have a Bake Day with friends at the start of the holiday season. More manpower means more goodies that can be stored or frozen for use throughout the busy weeks ahead.