How to Make the Holidays More Affordable

When it comes to the holidays, the last thing you need is additional stress. But shopping during this time of year can definitely bring it on. After all, you may find yourself stressed as you search for the perfect gifts for all of the people on your list. And let’s not forget about the stress it can cause your wallet.

But one thing you want to do is reduce the financial stress that the holidays can bring you. When you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for all of these gifts and presents, you won’t find yourself enjoying the time with friends and family. Use these tips to help make your holidays more affordable.

  • Talk With Your Family and Friends: The first step in reducing your financial stress during the holidays is to have an honest discussion with your family and friends. You can share with them how you want to make the holidays thoughtful and meaningful, but also budget-friendly. 
    • You might suggest a “White Elephant” gift exchange, trading names, going out for dinner, or setting a monetary limit that fits within your means. And there’s no need to be embarrassed by such a discussion, everyone will appreciate your honesty – and they may have the same concerns themselves. 
  • Create Your Budget: Once you’ve talked with your family and friends, and know who you’re buying for, it’s time to make a budget. Decide how much you’re going to spend on each person (and be sure to include any extras such as wrapping paper and stocking stuffers that may be needed) and then stick to it. 
    • While it can be tempting to pick up a few extra gifts for the special people in your life, it can lead to chaos with your budget. Be sure you know what your budget entails and that you’re following it.
  • Keep Track of Your Purchases: Have you ever done your holiday shopping and then realized you forgot to buy a gift? Or bought too many gifts for someone on your list? Keeping track of your purchases can help you avoid these situations. 
    • If you put in a little effort and keep a spreadsheet that lists everyone you’re buying for, your budget, your purchases, and your true costs, you can easily keep track of all of your essential holiday shopping details.
  • Start Shopping Early: Yes, shopping early can save you money. When you shop specific sales throughout the year, you may find that your dollar stretches even more. Additionally, shopping early will allow your wallet not to take a huge hit in December. 
  • Shop Second-Hand: If you’re not a fan of second-hand shopping, you really need to give it a try. You will be amazed at how much money you can save on items that are used – or in some cases, even new. Check your local Facebook groups, eBay, and second-hand shops. 
  • Check for Savings: You always want to be looking for savings. Check your sales flyers and your online discount sites to see what coupons and codes might be available. Also, check for free shipping or free wrapping that retailers may be offering during the holidays. Every little bit of savings can help!
  • Pay Cash as Much as Possible: It can be tempting to use your credit card during the holidays. But if you can’t pay off your balance by the next payment, you can find yourself incurring fees that only add to your holiday costs. Pay cash as much as possible to avoid high-interest credit card fees.

The holidays should never be a time of stress – especially financial stress. Use these tips to help you save money and make your holidays more enjoyable this year. 

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