I remember a simpler time many years ago when my Christmas list consisted of approximately 3 gifts. One for my mom, one for my dad, and one my sister. There was a $20 cap on all gifts, so it was my responsibility to round up 60 bucks or so to make the holidays happen.
And at that time, $60 actually felt like a huge stretch.
These day, between having four kids, a husband, almost 25 nieces and nephews, teachers and friends; my holiday gift giving list can quickly become a huge financial burden if I don’t reign it in early and keep it in check.
I’ve found that by setting a predetermined budget and coupling it with some savvy spending, the holidays can still be merry and bright, without breaking the bank.
5 ways to easily save through the holidays:
1. Stick to no more than four gifts a piece for the kids. We’ve adopted the idea of giving our children 4 different and specific types of presents on Christmas morning: something to wear, something to read, something they want, and something they need. I feel it sets a reasonable expectation for the day, and additionally curbs spending.
2. Skip the fancy holiday outfits. Instead of buying entirely new head to toe outfits for each of my kids that they might only wear once or twice, we shop our closets. Freshen up the outfit with a new inexpensive accessory or two. In my experience, a cute headband or festive hat can go a long way!
3. Create inexpensive holiday traditions. Take an evening to look at Christmas lights around the neighborhood, or attend a free public concert. Wrap up the night with a cup of homemade hot chocolate.
4. Spend a “fancy” evening at home. Skip fancy dinner out at a restaurant, and instead create an at-home formal dinner. Use the china from your wedding, pop open a bottle of sparkling cider, and break out the “good” napkins. Turn on some swanky holiday tunes, and make a favorite meal. I promise your kids will think it’s a blast, and you’ll end up saving a pretty penny as well.
5. Check out seasonal books and movies from the library. I know it’s tempting to buy a bunch of holiday books to read at bedtime, and invest in your favorite holiday flicks for family movie night. But assuming they’re only enjoyed for one month out of the year, snatch them up from the library (request in November, so you’ll have them ready and waiting for you come December) and save yourself a buck or two in the long run.