Let’s talk Christmas shall we. Do you have a budget? Do you know how many people you need to buy gifts for? Are you responsible for part of the holiday meal? Have you thought about how to make the most of your Christmas and did you know it is possible to have a great Christmas on a budget?
Christmas is a time to cherish family and loved ones, but it doesn’t mean your budget has to suffer. Actually, just the opposite. You can really enjoy spending time with the ones you love and be financially secure at the same time. (Boom.) Here are a list of ways to really have a great Christmas and not go into debt at the same time.
Avoid Black Friday Shopping
There aren’t as many “deals” as you think with Black Friday anymore. You can actually find great deals all year round so get your Christmas shopping done early if you want to have a great Christmas on a budget. If you spread your shopping out throughout the year, you will be way less stressed when the holidays roll around. You can also consider the gift cycle method or a flex account. You can also save using an app called Digit. Read my full review on Digit here. I know lots of people who run to the stores for the Black Friday deals, but just beware that there aren’t that many great deals on that particular day anymore.
I also think that when you shop on Black Friday, there is extra stress to keep up with everybody else’s spending. Don’t put yourself in a position where you buy stuff that isn’t really needed. I know lots of people think they are getting great deals, but to have a Christmas on a budget, really look at what you are buying and see if it is useful.
Create a List
I am all about lists baby. Create a list of all the holiday things you will need including gifts, decorations, food, napkins, tree- anything related to Christmas. Ration out a budget for each item and stick to the budget. Watch the holiday sales at pharmacies, stores like Target, Walmart, Dollar Tree. Check out these places and price match before buying.
Related Post: Online Shopping: Tips for Successful Clothing Purchases
Split up the Main Meal
Most people gather with other families for the holidays. Plan out the meal and ask what you can bring for the main meal. Are you making a side dish? What will you make and about how much will it cost? If you can make it from scratch, it will be cheaper. Prepared foods are more expensive as a whole so if you can plan ahead to get the supplies you need for your part of the meal, you will be prepared and save money.
Having a great Christmas on a budget includes planning for any holiday meals or parties you may be invited to.
Participate in a Cookie Trade
I have done this a few times and it is so much fun! You plan 1-2 cookie recipes and buy the ingredients for those. You host or go to someone else’s house and spend a few hours baking with others who also bring 1-2 prepared cookie doughs. You get to spend time with friends and bake tons of great cookies. You can also plan a fun holiday drink to have at the cookie party. Yum!
Go through the list of people you normally buy for and see if there is a way to cut down on the list. Can the adults do a name exchange? This would help if there are normally 5-6 adults you buy for. Your list then goes down to 1-2 instead of the 5-6. It will reduce your gift giving costs significantly and help you stick to Christmas on a budget.
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Create a Budget for Each Person
I recommend creating an overall budget and a budget for each individual person. If you delineate a certain amount for each person, it is extremely helpful because then you know where all the money is going. Also, consider buying online and using Ebates. Ebates is a referral network of sorts. They get paid when you shop through their site and they give you a percentage of the money they earn. They are offering double cash back on lots of purchases through certain stores for the holidays. You can sign up for Ebates here or check out my tutorial post on Ebates here. Also, Ebates will give you $10 just for signing up. And the best part is there is no sign up fee or cost at all to use Ebates.
Don’t Go Overboard
I know it is the holidays and you just want to eat, drink and be merry, but think about your pocket book too and the consequences of spending too much. The stuff you are buying is just stuff. How long will it be used after you purchase it? Are you spending your money on something valuable or something that will be obsolete in a month or 2? Don’t let the holiday season ruin your budget and your plans.
Don’t Feel Bad About Budgeting
You should never feel bad about wanting to have Christmas budget. Trying to pay off debt from big purchases is way more stressful than planning ahead of time and making calculated purchases.
There are tons of ways to enjoy the holidays without going into debt. It can be tons of fun making gifts for family and friends and spending quality time with people. Think of the holidays when you were little. What resonated with you the most? If it was a tradition, start it with your family. The holidays are a time to really appreciate the ones you love and it doesn’t have to be about how much money you are spending.
For more great holiday budgeting tips, you can download my free list of ways to save money for the Christmas Season.
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