It’s easy to spend money during the holiday season. With parties, gifts, Halloween and everything else that goes with the festive months, sometimes the family budget takes a hit.
When January 1 comes around, many of us are left with credit card bills that inspire emotions other than cheer. What’s the solution? Plan now to spend sensibly during the final three months of the year. There’s no need to skimp on creativity. Here are three money-saving ideas that will help you reduce spending during the holiday season.
3 Smart Ways to Save During the Holiday Season
Plan Simple Meals
Come up with some no-frills variations on your standard holiday meals, like vegan Thanksgiving recipes, unique Christmas dinner ideas and clever Halloween party themes.
For example, here’s a totally simple and delicious vegan dish that works for any family get-together:
- 8 medium-sized gold potatoes
- 1.5 teaspoons of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 6 cloves of roasted garlic
- 4 tablespoons of vegan butter
- 1/4 cup of fresh chives.
Boil the potatoes, after adding salt to the water, for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and mash, while adding in pepper, garlic, and butter. Use the chives as a topping. The recipe yields about four servings.
Keep Gift-giving to a Minimum
There are many ways to cut down on runaway gift-giving. Some families use the tried-and-true name-drawing system in which each person purchases a gift for just one other person. It’s important to put dollar-value limits on gifts if you do choose the name-drawing method.
Another popular idea is to limit gifts to homemade items only. You can really get creative with this plan by baking something special, creating a unique craft item or simply writing a poem or song for your recipient. If you are one of those millions of people who believe that gift-giving has gotten out of hand, then opting for a more sensible gifting system is the way to go.
Don’t Use Credit Cards
It’s way too easy to pull out the plastic and charge away during the holidays. Retailers encourage it with countless advertising messages, and it’s become a way of life for the average consumer. You don’t need to give in.
Instead, choose to use cash for purchases during the holiday months. You’ll probably discover some new things by taking this path to a lower-cost season.
For example, most people who lock away their credit cards for a few weeks or months realize how much impulse buying they do. Going to a cash-only system is a good financial exercise at any time of the year but particularly from November until early January.
Be careful not to view your new cash-only lifestyle as a license to spend as much as you want. Another tip to make this method work: Don’t use debit cards either. If you want to make a purchase, go to an ATM and withdraw the cash. “Cash only” means cash only.
Nearly everyone who ditches the credit cards for a short while complains at first. By the time the experiment is over, they’re usually pleasantly surprised at how much money they have saved.