People tend to spend more during the holiday season than during any other time of the year. The gifts, décor, and holiday entertaining all add up. Unfortunately, people often spend beyond their means, creating a shortfall when January rolls around. Moderation is the key to a happy but economical Christmas.
Here are some ways to make the most of the holidays without depleting your savings:
- Focus on the true meaning of Christmas – It’s easy to get sucked into the materialism of December. Remind yourself often of the true meaning of the holiday. Organize a local group to help others, visit people in a nursing home, etc. Service can bring joy that you can’t supplant with things.
- Create a fixed budget ahead of time – Even with appreciating the true meaning of Christmas, it seems unavoidable to still feel obligated to spend. The answer? Budget. Set aside the amount that you want to spend for the holidays, and don’t exceed this amount. You should also make a gift list in advance so that you can anticipate expenditures and avoid having to run out for last minute purchases. If you know in advance how much you want to spend and how many people you need to buy for, you will be more likely to stay within your budget.
- Eat in – Cook and eat at home during the holidays. Going out adds up quickly. Preparing food in your own kitchen allows you to eat more healthfully as well.
- Give experiences – Pricey gifts aren’t the only way to express love or appreciation. Rather than splurging on a present, give loved ones the gift of a memorable experience. For your significant other, you might treat them to a local event. Experiences often cost less than gifts and mean more in the long run. For kids, which I especially strive to give experiences over gifts, consider gifting them memberships to the local zoo, aquarium, parks complex, etc. They’ll get a bazillion presents from their grandparents and other extended family members. Plus, they won’t remember the trendy gift that they received last year but they will remember trips to the zoo for a lifetime.
With some self-mastery and careful planning, you can enjoy the holidays without setting yourself back financially.