We are in the midst of what can be the most expensive time of the year. If you don’t want to, or frankly can’t, be paying off Christmas, Hanukkah, or other celebration into next year, here are some tips to make the holidays affordable and memorable.
- Agree on not exchanging presents. This can be a very difficult discussion to start. Everyone is embarrassed to admit any kind of money trouble. But even for those who are not living paycheck to paycheck, shopping for presents can be an unwelcome chore. Have this conversation as early as you can, and you may be surprised by how smoothly it goes. A variation on this could be that presents are only given to children and adults can make a donation to a charity.
- Do a gift exchange. Also known as Secret Santa, have everyone in the family pick a name out of a hat and purchase a gift up to a certain dollar amount for that one person. That way, everyone is getting something, but the price is limited for everyone.
- Experience gifts. A coupon for a free outing of her choice. Free babysitting for parents. A trip to his favorite place. All of these things can be cheaper than a physical gift. A great idea that went viral recently was from a grandmother who gave a gift of an outing a month. This way, the price of the gift can go throughout the year and the receiver has something to look forward to long after the holidays are over.
- Bake something. Everyone loves baked goods, and homemade goods wrapped in a cute ribbon and delivered with a smile would make anyone’s day.
- Shop clearance. This one requires some thinking ahead, but keeping an eye open in the clearance aisle year-round could help you save a lot of money come Christmas.
- Give lessons. Does someone in your life want to learn something that you already know by heart? Give her some free lessons! A great example of this is a teenager who wants to know how to drive.
- Shop yard sales or consignment shops. Yes, some people think it’s tacky to give someone something used for the holidays, but 1) you can find new stuff at yard sales and consignment shops and 2) you can find something that is used, but absolutely perfect for the person you are giving it to. Also, check out freecycling!
- Create something. Homemade items are always more special than store-bought. Use whatever skills you may have, like sewing, or look it up and learn something new. There are YouTube tutorials for just about anything!
- Buy family gifts. Have a whole family whom you usually buy gifts for? Instead of buying for each individual, get something that the whole family will enjoy, like a board game or a gift card for their favorite restaurant.
- Cook dinner. We are all just so busy nowadays; it’s nice to have someone else cook every once in a while. That is where your gift comes in. Give him the gift of making dinner for his family sometime this season.
I hope these ideas help you in saving money this year. Happy Holidays!
By Bethanie Ryan