While the holidays should be a joyful time, the busyness of the season on top of the financial burden can bring unwelcome stress. From out-of-town guests, to holiday gift giving, to hosting holiday gatherings, there are many factors that can leave us taking a few deep breaths.
Keep your finances under control with these holiday spending tips and unique gift ideas:
1. Don’t shop without first creating a sensible holiday spending plan.
Make your list, check it twice and then decide on a reasonable budget to work with. Download a free holiday budget printable. on our website.
2. Do set reasonable expectations this holiday season for yourself and family.
It will save your wallet and sanity from credit card bills that come after the holidays are over. Be upfront and honest with your family about your budget. Remember that gifts don’t have to be expensive to be thoughtful. Consider setting gift spending limits with your family, or pulling names out of a hat and only gifting to one person.
3. Give personal, unique gifts without spending a fortune.
Before you buy into the insanity of holiday consumerism, ask yourself: what brings you and your family the most joy during the holidays? Spending aimlessly or spending time together? Small acts of kindness, especially during the busy holiday season, go a long way and are priceless. Here are a few ways you can make unique gifts for loved ones:
- Food. Consumable items are very popular during the holidays. The recipients may enjoy the product themselves or share it with others when entertaining. Make your own food specialty, or consider special breads, beverages, fruit baskets, snack items, regional favorites, or gourmet coffees and teas.
- Made by you. Knit a scarf. Hand craft an item. Create an annual holiday ornament. Give a framed photo.
- Hobby-related gift or gift certificates. Consider the recipient’s hobbies and interests. Are there gardeners, chefs, woodworkers, knitters, readers and gamers on your list? Gift accordingly by providing them with the tools or materials to do what they enjoy.
- Coupons for your services. Offer your time and abilities. You can create coupons related to your skills. Perhaps it is cooking a favorite meal, snow shoveling, home repair or an oil change, mending, guitar lessons and so on.
- Create a special memory. Look in newspapers or online for special events this holiday that are free or low cost. Instead of purchasing gifts, make a date with your family and friends to enjoy an event together and get together for desserts and coffee.
- Volunteer together. Instead of opting to give gifts this year, suggest to family members that you should all get together and volunteer for a cause. Not only will you be spending time together and creating memories, but you’ll also be making an impact on your community.
BONUS TIP: Give yourself a gift — SAVE that bonus!
Don’t forget to give to yourself this holiday season. While it may be tempting to buy that sweater you’ve been eyeing since it is “such a good deal,” consider saving that money instead. Get a holiday bonus from work? Save it instead of spending it. You’ll feel much better going into the New Year with little or no debt, and better yet—a growing savings account.
Before you rush to the stores in-person or online to shop, like so many Americans this season, take a moment to stop and think. After all, the real meaning behind the holiday season shouldn’t be how many gifts you give or how expensive they are, but spending time with family and friends while celebrating traditions. Have a joyful holiday!
Download a free holiday budget printable to help you plan for this holiday season and avoid overspending.
Be sure to download and save the budget form before entering your numbers, or your changes will be lost.