Y’all, I have a confession. While I like the holidays because I get to see my family and it gives me all the feels, part of me struggles with accepting how they are celebrated. Obviously the true meaning of the holidays have evolved as we have as a culture, but sometimes the consumerism attached makes me kinda sick. Especially when I find myself shopping excessively during the holidays or looking at my bank account come Jan 1 and freaking out.
And I’m not just talking about gifts for people – the amount of food, decorations, parties, all the fun things that go into the holidays usually cost a lot of money, and it’s definitely a season of excessive overspending – in my opinion!
Since I have been getting better about a budget and money in general, I thought it’d be a good time to address some specific habits I have in place for the holiday season. Hopefully this can make you feel a little more confident with saving money this year – or maybe even rethink some autopilot spending. And I hope y’all don’t think I’m being a grinch, I’m just trying to be honest!
Create a budget
I’ve already written a huge post on creating budgets in general, and I like to have one specifically for the holidays. Since it’s SO easy to overspend during Nov and Dec, it makes sense to create a focused budget just for this time. Make a list of everything you absolutely must buy (and hopefully that list gets smaller after following the rest of these tips), including bills, etc., how much you’ll make during the holidays, and then follow the tips here.
Pro tip: If you hate budgeting, treat yourself to a cup of coffee – your one for the week – put on some Xmas music, and get to town on the budget. It’ll feel less painful. Promise.
You don’t have to throw a full on dinner party to have fun with your friends over the holidays. Instead, order freakin’ pizza, buy some cheap wine, and throw on a Christmas movie – or just play games in your pajamas. If you really love to cook, make the main dish and ask your friends to bring simple side dishes. Basically, think of ways to have fun on a budget while celebrating the season.
Also, only say ‘yes’ to the events you want to go to. For real this time. An event usually costs some money (whether on gas, food, drinks, a dress, whatever), so you’ll be saving money and sanity by saying no more often.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lent out dresses or outfits for the holidays, and vice versa. Holiday dressing is so specific that it sometimes feels silly to buy a new outfit for every single holiday event *THIS TOOK ME FOREVER TO REALIZE*. Ask a few girlfriends (similar size, similar style) to see if they want to do a holiday swap – even sharing things like shoes or earrings cuts down on costs, and it’s like shopping without the bill.
Or, buy a couple holiday-ish pieces, but make sure they are transitional. Think of how you could wear that holiday piece 3-5 times to make sure it’ll get you through holiday season. Even better if you can find something (like a velvet blazer – obsessed with this one) that you could wear into 2018.
This won’t save you money until the following season, but it’s a smart way to shop. Wait until after the holiday to shop for next season. Things like wrapping paper, boxes, candles, even some decor is still going to be in style next season, so do yourself a favor and stock up after the 2017 holidays. Prices are sometimes as much as 75% lower, and it’s easy to store until next year. Set yourself a reminder for this time next year so that you don’t forget that you already bought everything. Kinda genius, right?
I know some people already do this, but if you think about it, Secret Santa is so much more affordable than buying everyone in your family presents. If you’re currently in a family where you have to buy for 10 adults, bring up the idea of Secret Santa. And make sure you put a limit on it (something like $40 max).
Of course you’ll still want to buy for the kids in the family, but don’t feel pressure to spend $50 a kid, even if other people in your fam do.
I’m actually in the process of decorating my house (slash should I do a post on my simple decorations?!), and a lot of my ideas were DIY. Y’all, it’s freaking insanity how much it costs to decorate a house, so I love the idea of using DIY stuff instead. I’m talking like spray painting sticks to put on the mantle – how cool would that look in silver or gold?! OK I’m thinking of a few other ideas for this, so I’ll probably write a post – but my point is, get creative! Go on Pinterest and find DIY decorations that will save you hundreds.
I’m excited to hear what y’all do to save money during Nov and Dec, so please let me know in the comments. Sharing is caring, people!
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