Success Strategies for Saving Money at the Holidays, Part 2
Continued from Part 1
You can create a lot of family fun without having to spend a lot on food and alcohol. If you do want to indulge yourself by going out for a meal or drinks, don’t starve yourself all day in preparation for a feast. Also don’t buy a lot of expensive and watered down drinks. Your friends might consider taking turns hosting and getting in cases of beer from the warehouse club, or larger bottles of wine. In many cases the whole bottle will be cheaper than what you are paying for one glass of wine in a restaurant.
Have a potluck holiday supper in which everyone brings a dish, or you assign people appetizer, main course, sides and so on. You can provide all the cutlery and drinks or have everything bring a bottle or six pack and you provide the tableware, glasses and desserts.
Make do with the decorations you already have, or get some free resources online and use crayons, colored pencils and whatever else you already have in the house to make your own decorations with the children. Spend time using the toys that the kids got last year for the holidays and probably have not played with since.
In fact, one great way to spend early December planning for the holidays is to take the time to start clearing out things in your house and especially in each child’s room and start gathering all the things that you and the children don’t use or have outgrown.
If they are decent quality, put them on sale at eBay or donate them to the Salvation Army and be sure to get a receipt. Then look on their website to calculate the values for the items and deduct those amounts from your taxes next April.
Use the money you earn on eBay or the money you save on your taxes as the foundation for next year’s Christmas savings account. Don’t feel pressured to spend what you don’t have. Practice saying, “I can’t afford it,” or “If we want it, we have to save up for it.”
Also be sure to revise your Christmas list in light of what you find as you do your holiday cleaning and sorting. You may find yourself crossing a lot of items off the list.
Try to stick to practical gifts for your loved ones, such as attractive items that double as school supplies, for instance, can make great stocking stuffers. Clothes, shoes, boots, a new back pack and so on also make excellent gifts, especially if they are at the right price and your child did not get very many new back to school supplies.
As for re-gifting, we are all in favor of it provided it is not fruitcake. But seriously, if you have no use for it, by all means pass it on to someone who will appreciate it, so long as no one will find out or expect you to use or wear the item you were gifted. Also consider if it is genuinely that person’s taste or not. Re-gifting can help fill in blanks in your list, and it can also enable you to give a gift to someone you would like to be able to give one to, but might not have in the budget.
Everyone has different perspectives on Christmas and what they wish to spend versus what they can afford. If your gap has widened this year, be honest about it and focus on all the fun and free ways you can celebrate the holidays. The new found financial freedom you start creating for yourself and your family will be well worth it and the best gift you can give to your children.
For more top tips on how to save money at the holidays, see How to Save Money this Holiday Season