The holidays are right around the corner, and it is high time to think about how to budget your spending. Otherwise, it can quickly and easily get out of control.
There is nothing fun about spending January and February paying off holiday bills. If you're ready to have a fun and inexpensive holiday season, keep reading to learn more.
Make Ornaments, Cards and Gift Tags
If you’ve ever been to a fancy holiday store, you can see how ornaments can cost upwards of a hundred dollars per piece. It must be nice for those with the resources, but for most of us, we’re lucky to make it through the holiday without having to take out a loan.
Certainly, this is a fun time of year for everyone, but spending wisely will make it much more enjoyable. One way to do so is by making your own ornaments.
Plus, you can get the family involved and create lasting memories. One idea is to use Christmas rubber stamps on your cards, ornaments and gift tags.
Here’s one option:
· Cut card stock into the shape of a star
· Punch a hole at the top of the star
· String it with holiday-colored yarn
· Press your Christmas stamp into the star
· Use glue to add sparkle such as glitter, rhinestones and pearls
· Hang the homemade ornament on your tree or along your mantle
Think of Where to Spend Your Holiday
The best location for holiday gatherings is at someone’s home. Perhaps this year you and your relatives can decide on a place to meet that is close enough to handle the largest number of friends and relatives.
You don’t have to go anywhere fancy to have fun. There is plenty of fun to be had around a large table with good people.
Another option is to have your gathering at a park. Get everyone involved in planning and execution to ensure a flawless outcome.
Save on Christmas Gifts
One of the most expensive aspects of the holidays is buying gifts. You are inundated with advertisements of a wide variety of cute gifts, and let’s face it—you want to buy them all.
But, then, reality kicks in afterwards. To save some money, it is best to start shopping early. The last-minute rush will make you tempted to buy things you can't afford.
Another thing to avoid are all the gifts you buy for yourself. Admit it, when shopping for others, it's hard to resist picking up a few things for yourself. During this time, remind yourself that you will be receiving gifts from others.
You can also offer a service as a gift such as washing your neighbor's car, baking your famous lasagna for someone or volunteering to babysit for a friend. The gift of your time and talents are always appreciated.
During the holidays, there is so much pressure to keep up with all the parties and seasonal baking. Food plays a major role in it all.
There isn't any question our mouths start to water at the thought of homemade apple pies and golden roasted turkeys and hams. Yet, all the food and eating out can put a serious strain on your budget.
The way around this is with a bit of planning. For starters, figure out all the food you need to make during the holiday season through New Year's Eve.
If you haven't, start buying some of your spices now. It is also helpful to create a master list of ingredients. Then, shop grocery sales each week to buy them when they are on sale.
In addition, the best time to use your coupons is in November and December. If inviting friends over for dinner, you might consider a potluck.
If you are traveling during the holidays, here is how to save some money.
· Fly on the Holiday. This is the day most people are at home. So, you can get the best fares with fewer crowds. The most expensive times to fly are before and right after the holidays.
· Book your flight at least six weeks in advance.
· Shop each airline individually. Third-party travel sites don't always list every available deal.
· Save money on checked bag fees by traveling with a carry-on and shipping your gifts.
· Drive, take the bus or train for domestic travel.
During the holidays, your eyes may be larger than your wallet. Instead of going broke, stick to a budget and make a plan.