Many of us look forward to the holidays as a time filled with celebrations, gifts and decking the halls. It can also be the most expensive time of the year. By planning ahead, you can enjoy celebrating the season with family and friends, without all the financial stress.
Create a budget.
Discuss family expectations. People often have higher expectations for the holidays than any other time of year. If this year’s budget won’t allow for traveling across the country to visit family or expensive gifts, share this with the rest of the family ahead of time. If holiday traditions of the past won’t be possible this year, Mayo Clinic suggests finding new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
Start saving now. As LearnVest points out, it’s never too early to start setting aside money for the holidays. A separate savings account, just for holiday expenses, can be a good way to help ensure you don’t dip into the funds for other expenses. Setting up direct deposits or automatic transfers makes it even easier to grow your holiday savings.
Rethink decorations. A happy holiday season doesn’t require buying elaborate displays and decorations for every room. Time you spend with family and friends is what makes the holidays special. However, if you can’t imagine celebrating the season without decorations, Country Living offers ideas for decking the halls with things you already own.
Plan ahead for meals. Start watching now for sales on ingredients with a long shelf life, such as butter, flour and canned goods. Ask family and friends to bring side dishes to help ease the strain on your food budget. Think about what dishes are the most popular at past holiday meals. If no one was raving about the cranberry salad, don’t spend money on it again this year.
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