For those committed to living on a budget, you don’t have to sacrifice the joy of the holiday season just because you’re spending less money. If you are having guests at your home over the holidays, you can make the day a memorable one, in a good way, on a reasonable budget. With preparation and just the right amount of cooperation from your loved ones this holiday season will be one that won’t leave a lingering reminder in the coming year every time you open a credit card bill or look at your depleted savings account.
One of the first ways to save money during the holidays is to make get togethers a joint effort, if possible. 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 your 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 anyone has it on sale. Find out when the retailers near you are having their largest sales. Check your local paper for coupons that give a big discount as well! Knowing where you are going and what you intend to buy when you get there, will save you time, avoid traffic, conserve fuel, and leave more time for the things you would rather be doing during the holidays.
One 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 some 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 some 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 found 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 carried out with nothing more than pens and paper. The games are fun and often contribute to the group learning more about each other.
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 great 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 your budget.
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