|By Sarah Carlson, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®|
It's the most wonderful time of the year, but for many it can also be the most expensive. If you're looking to save money during the holiday season, you're in luck. Here are five ways to enjoy the holidays without spending too much money.
1. Commit to Your Budget
If you've ever gone over holiday spending, you know how quickly the thrill of holiday shopping can become a stressful and difficult situation. By setting and sticking to a holiday budget, you'll be able to enjoy the holiday spirit with peace of mind. When creating your holiday budget, ask yourself what is most important this holiday season—whether it's big items like gifts or smaller presents like decorations, candies and baked goods.
Once you're clear on your priorities, start planning out how much money you want to spend. Setting realistic short-term goals will give you an achievable timeline that won't break your wallet. Despite the pressure to keep up with holiday trends or buy grand presents for loved ones, by understanding your holiday needs and implementing a budget, you'll be able to stay financially secure all season long.
2. Make Your Own Gifts This Year
The holiday season is the perfect time to give your loved ones something special. While buying gifts can be loads of fun, it's possible to save money by making your own Christmas presents this year. Crafting unique, homemade items for your family and friends is a great way to show your appreciation for them as well as economizing on holiday spending.
Plus, it's so much more meaningful when you know someone spent time and energy making something specifically for you! With some creativity and extra effort, you can create holiday gifts from the heart that will truly stand out.
3. Shop for Gifts Online and Compare Prices
Holidays are the time of year when holiday spending skyrockets across the US, which can make it hard for families to give great gifts on a budget. However, taking your holiday shopping online can be instrumental in cost-cutting. By comparing prices from different virtual stores and doing some research, you could save a nice chunk of change and still surprise your friends and loved ones with something special.
Plus, convenience is key; even if holiday crowds at malls might be part of your holiday amusement, shopping online lets you pick the perfect gift while comfy in your pajamas! Now that's holiday cheer.
4. Don't Pressure Yourself about the "Perfect" Gift
The holiday season is a time of giving and showing love through the exchanging of gifts. But it can quickly become overwhelming if you start to feel that you have to outdo yourself with each present you give while ignoring self-compassion. The key to holiday spending is to remember that it's not about spending money on extravagant gifts; it's about expressing your appreciation for those in your life by thoughtful presents that are meaningful to them, large or small.
Don't beat yourself up if you don't manage to buy the perfect gift–as long as the recipients know how much they mean to you and appreciate the effort you put into their holiday presents, that will mean far more than anything else. So don't pressure yourself or feel guilty about not buying the best gifts; instead focus your holiday energy on showing people how special they truly are.
5. Enjoy Festive Activities That are Free or Inexpensive
The holiday season is the perfect time to get creative with how you spend your money. Rather than breaking the bank buying presents, why not enjoy some festive activities that are either free or inexpensive? Consider caroling with family and friends—it's a great way to spread holiday cheer!
If you like being active, then why not take in a leisurely ice skating session or wander around your local holiday market to soak up the atmosphere and find unique gifts for those special people in your life? The holiday season doesn't have to mean holiday spending—use this time to be creative and make lasting memories at little to no cost.
The holidays are a time for giving, spending time with loved ones, and enjoying traditions. But they can also be a time of stress and anxiety when it comes to money. As a team of Spokane Financial Advisors, we hope that by providing you with some tips on how to budget for the holidays and stick to your budget, you will have a more enjoyable holiday season!
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