Enjoying the Holidays on a Budget

For many, the holidays are considered the most wonderful time of the year. One of the reasons why this is the case is because of all the wonderful memories families and friends make with each other. Knowing this, there are plenty of ways to thoroughly enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank. In fact, tons of people experience depression around the end of January because they see their credit card bills are exorbitant from overspending. If you plan ahead, you won’t have to put yourself in an uncomfortable predicament. Consider the following ways you can intentionally save money while enjoying the holidays.

1. Make food & beverages at home
Food is one of the largest expenses. It’s also one of the easiest ways to waste money. Instead of eating out, be vigilant about preparing delicious meals at home. When you prepare your favorite salads, entrees and side dishes at home, you’re less likely to go out and purchase fast food.

2. Host festivities at your home
Instead of going to the movies on a Saturday night, consider hosting a holiday movie night. Invite a few friends over to watch holiday movies, eat great food and enjoy time together. If you cover the cost of pizza and assign a snack or drink for everyone else to bring, you’ll save a lot of money and still have fun. The same can be done for a great game night, a baking party or a holiday decorating party.

3. Use coupons and discount codes
Whether you’re purchasing gifts, decorations or food, use coupons or discount codes to get a better price. If you’re purchasing items online, use the widgets and discount codes that lots of discount sites offer. Many discount sites even offer cashback on most of your purchases. That way, you’ll be able to purchase the items you were planning to get as you make more money in the process.

4. Pre-purchase what you can
Once you’ve created your budget, you already know where your allotted money is going. As you pay for bills, festivities and other planned purchases, life might throw you a curveball that leaves you with a hefty bill. Burglaries can be common during the holiday season, as many families leave town or change their daily routines. A burglary can leave you with unexpected home repair costs, such as a broken window or a busted front door, that can’t wait to be repaired. Even though it is essential to maintain an emergency fund to cover such scenarios, some expenses are too large to be fully prepared for. If that is your reality, you don’t have to worry. There are short-term solutions like online installment loan lenders that may be able to help you address these unexpected critical repairs so you can get back on your feet during the holiday season.

5. Incorporate free activities
Most people love to enjoy festivities throughout the season, but you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for everything. Take advantage of the free festivities in your area. Make hot cocoa at home. Pour it into portable mugs for everyone, and pack everyone in the car to take a drive around the city to look at the holiday lights. If there is a free Christmas musical at a local mega-church, line up to get great seats. Don’t forget that this is the season to give back. Head to a local nursing home or a food pantry to volunteer for a few hours. All of these festivities allow you to make memories together. That’s the most important part. As you mix the free activities up with a few paid options like a trip to the movies, you’ll be surprised at how busy you’ll really be.

6. Create a rule for your gift-giving practices
It’s the season where everyone wants to give and receive gifts. When it pertains to your family, decide the limit of how much you’ll spend on each other. This will help everyone stay within a budget. Granted, if one or two people were saving for a specific gift, that’s fine. However, don’t feel pressured to spend past a certain amount. Furthermore, if you have loved ones who you want to get gifts for, consider shopping for online deals. Depending on the area, there are lots of thrift stores that carry incredible toys, clothes and books at a fraction of the price. If the doll is brand-new, your favorite niece won’t care if you only spent $4 instead of $40.

As you implement these rules, you’ll get to the end of the season and be proud of how you were able to have tons of fun on a dime. Now, you don’t have to avoid your bank balance. It’s possible to have an amazing time as you maintain positive spending habits.

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