A Financially Mindful Holiday Season
Being committed to a spending limit and avoiding overspending, does not mean you have to sacrifice the joy of the holiday season. No matter how you are celebrating the holidays, you can make them memorable, in a positive way, on a reasonable budget. With preparation, mindfulness around your goals, and just the right amount of cooperation from your loved ones, this holiday season will be one that won’t leave a negative, lingering reminder in the coming year when you open a credit card bill or see a depleted savings account.
We often recommend discussing financial goals with family and friends. They may appreciate your honesty, and you can explore alternatives such as setting spending limits for gift exchanges or opting for more budget-friendly celebrations. They may have their own financial goals they are working towards and are also looking for ways to be mindful of their expenses during the holidays.
This brings us to another potential saving opportunity, making get-togethers a joint effort. This works well, especially with the food. If this breaks the tradition of the host doing almost all of the work, a simple way to ease into the change is to ask guests, one by one, if there is something they would like to contribute. Contributions can be for the meal, for the décor, or for entertainment. There is a good chance your guests enjoy being creative and want to add to the meal. Even if they don’t cook, they might feel just as involved by bringing something they bought. The same goes for the décor.
Also, plan your shopping trips and do your research! If you know you want to buy a particular product, check the internet to find out if any stores have it on sale. Find out when the retailers near you are having their largest sales. Check your local paper for coupons that provide a big discounts as well! Knowing where you are going and what you intend to buy when you get there, will save you time, help avoid traffic and conserve fuel, and leave more time for the things you would rather be doing during the holidays.
An inexpensive way to keep family members entertained and engaged with each other around the table is to bring out an old standard, the board game. You might have games at home already. If you don’t, this could be another way for your guests to contribute if they have a game they like to play and can bring. If you need to buy games, a card-based game like Uno can be purchased for less than $10 online. Other fun games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity (depending on participant age), can be purchased for less than $20. Read the online reviews if you want to have the best chance of finding something fun for most people. An online search will also find dozens of games that can be played with nothing more than pens and paper or a basic deck of cards. The games are fun and often contribute to the group learning more about each other.
Another area of savings could be using alternative decorations rather than those purchased at the store. Get creative with decorations by making your own or repurposing items you already have. This can be a fun and cost-effective way to enhance the festive atmosphere.
Finally, if your guests are not afraid to show off how well or how badly they can sing, you can do activities ranging from singing Christmas Carols to having a karaoke contest. YouTube has karaoke songs to suit every taste and they do not cost anything to access. Maybe some of the children are willing to put on a performance, such as singing or putting on a play. Music is a wonderful way to keep your guests entertained.
Focus on spending time with family and friends. This is what people remember about the holidays. Remember, well planned and with enough fun built in, the holidays can be a blast without breaking a budget or derailing goals.
For more budget suggestions, check out the rest of our blog, follow us on Facebook and Instagram or give one of our counselors a call! Happy Holidays!
Published Nov 17, 2023.