1. Agree on a spending limit for everyone’s gifts
It’s important to set an overall budget for the holidays, but another easy way to keep your finances in check is to set a boundary on the cost of presents with your friends and family. Do you know that one person who always seems to go over the top with their gift-giving? Pull them aside and let them know you always appreciate their gifts but this year you’d like to set a limit on how much you agree to spend on each other. This may take the pressure off of you to feel like you have to live up to their elaborate giving and save you both some money.
2. Limit the number of festive activities you participate in
As fun as these events are, they can add up quickly if you’re taking a bottle of wine or buying a new outfit for every Friendsgiving or holiday party you’re invited to. The solution? Set a limit on the number of parties you attend and fill in the rest of your calendar with free or less expensive activities.
3. Gift exchange instead of buying for multiple people
An easy way to do this is to suggest a group gift exchange like Secret Santa or White Elephant where everyone is only responsible for buying one present for one person. This is especially helpful if you typically buy for everyone in your office or friend group
Some easy DIY gifts you can give this holiday season include personalized scrapbooks, framed photos, or homemade desserts. You can also give the gift of your time this season by suggesting a free holiday-themed activity like driving through a neighborhood light display while sipping on homemade cocoa or hosting a holiday-themed movie or game night.
4. Give alternative gifts
Gifts and events aren’t the only aspects of the holidays that can drain your bank account. The holiday season often involves a lot of traveling to see friends and family—especially if you plan to travel in both November and December for major holidays. Luckily, there are a couple of solutions here if traveling just isn’t in your budget this year.
5. Offer to host to avoid traveling or suggest an alternative day to celebrate
For one, you can invite your friends and family to travel to your home instead. “While hosting an event is still a financial responsibility, it will likely cost less than booking airfare or paying for gas,” says Fletcher. Hosting for the holidays can be a fun way to show your loved ones what the season is like in your city. Take them on a tour of the neighborhood with the best holiday lights (you know there’s always one), see a show, prepare a nice meal, and host a gift exchange for a truly special holiday experience.
Written by Christine Winder