‘Tis the season to save, save, save! The holidays may be a stressful time, but money doesn’t have to compound that stress. From holiday meals, gifts and even fun activities with friends and family, there are plenty of ways to enjoy all the festivities the holidays have to offer without entering 2023 with an empty wallet.
For many, elaborate meals are a valued holiday tradition. Inflation may be making it harder to afford regular healthy meals, so big-budget blowouts may need to be scaled back this year. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy great holiday foods, though. For instance, you can substitute expensive and fatty pecan pies with lighter and less expensive dishes that are still festive, like baked apples.
Additionally, you could ask your dinner guests to bring their own dishes for a potluck-style meal. That way, no one has to foot the bill for everyone’s plate. And when you’re shopping for your holiday ingredients, be smart when buying in bulk. For example, buying large bags of potatoes can be a smart move because they can be used in several holiday dishes, but that 50 cents you save buying four boxes of stuffing won’t actually save you money if those other three boxes are left untouched in your cabinet for the next year.
Inflation may make paying for presents extra challenging for some this year. One way to avoid blowing your savings on gifts is to start shopping early; Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals could save you a pretty penny. And while you shop, you should do so mindfully . Make a list of exactly who you need to buy items for, what they would actually want or need, and avoid buying extra for “just in case”gifting. Chances are they wouldn’t have appreciated that pumpkin candle, anyway.
If your friends and family are also trying to save money this year, setting a limit for gifts (both the quantity and the dollar amount) could help you all save money. Or you could host a white elephant party where only one gift is needed to participate. It can save everyone money but still permits you and your friends (or family) to have a great night exchanging gifts together. Another approach to saving on gifts could be to make your own homemade
gifts or give experiences, like making a meal for the person.
Budgeting for Winter Holidays
Of course, one of the best ways to prepare for the holidays is to budget, budget budget . When money is tight, the first step is to determine how much money you can spend on gifts this year, and be honest. Once you know what your limit is, you can determine who you need to buy gifts for and how much you can realistically spend on them based on your budget. You could even look into getting a Christmas Club account with a local bank to help you save money specifically for the holidays.
The envelope system is another popular method for saving cash for the holidays. Whenever you have spare dollars or change, you can put it in an envelope with the name of the item you’re saving for written on the front.
Still need help budgeting? Don’t be afraid to regift ! If you know someone who would enjoy a gift you received more than you, there’s no reason not to pass it along. You get to save money, and the person gets a nice gift: win-win!
Free Holiday Fun
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy the holidays, or any at all in some cases. Instead of going to expensive holiday tourist traps or expensive holiday markets, you could take your friends on a stroll through the park to watch the snowfall or through the neighborhood to enjoy festive decorations and lights. You may also want to check your local community center for free holiday events, such as caroling, a holiday craft night or tree lightings. Too cold to leave home? Set a festive mood by hanging your own holiday decor, pouring yourself a warm cup of apple cider and streaming a holiday movie marathon. And if giving is your thing, you can clear out your
closet in search of things you no longer need in order to donate them to charity.
Around the Web
Need more tips for finding savings during the holidays? We searched the web for expert tips on saving big during the holidays while still having fun:
The holiday season can be a jolly time of year, as long as you have the funds for fun! Budgeting early, planning gifts in advance, and embracing fun and frugal festive activities will help you save money without having to skimp out on the holidays.
Need help building up your holiday savings? SoFi Insights®, is a budgeting app that can track your income, set up financial goals, and help you keep tabs on your spending.
Learn more about how SoFi Insights can help you prepare for the Holidays.
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.