Decorating the house. Buying plane tickets. Playing Secret Santa at work. Preparing elaborate meals. Dressing up for holiday parties. Shopping for gifts. There's no question that the days between Christmas and New Year's challenge us with obligations and expenses. Since being extra-busy and having lots of gifts to buy is stressful enough, why add to that burden by blowing your budget or even going into debt? It's difficult to enjoy the holidays when you're worried about money, souse our holiday budgeting tipsthat take some of the stress out of the holiday season.
For some people, decorating is optional. If you're not one of those people, here are some ideas to keep your decorating spending to a minimum. If you already have a stash of decorations but you'd like to update your home's holiday look, hold off for just one more season and buy decorations on clearance in late December and save them for the following year.
Meals are a great way to bring folks together over the holidays. Hosting these meals tends to be expensive, though, as you want to impress and have all your guests leave with full stomachs. This usually translates into overspending, massive amounts of time in the kitchen and too many leftovers. But it doesn't have to be that way. If you normally host a holiday party, consider not having one or scaling back your guest list.
Presents are probably the biggest burden for most people. It's a challenge just to think of gifts that everyone on your list will like, let alone finding and affording them. Plus, we all have at least one person that we buy gifts for solely out of obligation. For people you know you'll be buying gifts for, like parents, siblings or children, keep a running list of things they express interest in. Then, acquire them whenever you can find a good deal or have some extra room in your budget.
You don't have to go into debt to have a happy and memorable holiday season. Keeping your finances under control can help you keep the other challenging aspects of the holidays under control as well. If you're not stressed out, you're less likely to overeat or lose patience with your relatives. And if you can keep keep calm when all about you are going mad, your happy mood will perhaps be the best gift you bring to any gathering this holiday season. Remember that Christmas is a time for enjoying and being thankful for your family and friends, and this shouldn't be in sacrifice of your saving goals.