Tis the Season (to Save)

Between parties and presents, these last few months of the year can be expensive. This is only amplified by the events of the past year between COVID recovery, shifting employer expectations and rising consumer prices – in fact, CNN recently reported that this could be the most expensive Thanksgiving in history with another report sharing that Americans plan to spend $997.79 on holiday purchases this year.

The holidays can be stressful enough without added financial concerns. Here are some suggestions to help manage your finances this season so you can focus on time with family and friends instead.

  1. Set a holiday budget and spending limits

The best way to manage your finances, especially around the holidays, is to stick to a budget. Having a plan can help keep you on track and offers a clear layout of what you can and cannot spend. Consider breaking down how much to allot for gifts, meals, decorations and travel. With a set budget, you’re less likely to overspend, you can clearly track what you’re spending, and you can decide what to spend more or less on.

  1. Search for sales and deals

This season be more intentional with your shopping. While it may take a bit more effort, it can help save you money to compare prices, especially when buying more expensive items. Shop around or see what stores offer price matching. Take advantage of different sales and deals both in stores and online. It may also help to see if there are any additional coupons or membership incentives that apply. While it may not seem like a lot, every cent adds up.

  1. Split the cost

Consider sharing different responsibilities this year. For example, if you’re hosting a party or a dinner, ask that everyone bring a dish or a drink to share. In terms of gift giving, for your extended family or friend groups, consider partaking in a gift exchange. Instead of presenting everyone with a gift, each person could get one other person a gift. While this is a budget friendly option, it also allows you to spend more time and money finding a meaningful gift for someone special.

  1. Avoid credit cards and use cash

When it comes to making certain purchases, using cash could prevent you from spending too much. It’s easy to slide your card without thinking too much of how much debt you’re accruing. However, with cash, you have a physical overview of how much money you’ve spent. While using cash isn’t realistic for every trip to the store, substituting it for credit on smaller purchases can help keep you on track with you holiday budget.

  1. DIY instead of buy

One easy way to save some money around the holidays is to do-it-yourself. This year, considering skipping out on ordering meals, dishes or desserts and make a homecooked meal instead. Everyone loves homemade cookies, which can taste even better than store bought ones. When it comes to decorating, try to repurpose decorations from previous years or DIY elaborate mantle pieces and wreathes. Opting for synthetic greenery also provides a reusable option that could help save money for years to come.