I’m definitely not a financial planner, but I do know that money is a stressor for a lot of people who come through the office. Money can be a tricky topic at any time of the year, but throughout the holiday season many people are feeling the financial pinch. Whether you are religious or not, the holidays are about celebrating family and friends and all of the many blessings we have. Here are a couple of tips to help navigate the financial stresses of the season and also help remind us of why we are celebrating.
1) Do homemade gifts. It really isn’t about the gift, but about the thought. Are you a baking champion? Do you have a secret sewing talent? Suggest exchanging homemade gifts. Not only can it take financial pressure off, but the effort and love that go into a homemade will help bring the holiday joy into your world and the lucky receivers.
2) Entertain potluck style. It often is overlooked how expensive it is to put on a holiday feast. Spread the cost around and get everyone to bring a dish. Not only does it save on expenses, but you get to try out some really great recipes you might have missed out on.
3) Appetizers can be your best friend. If you insist on hosting by yourself, try making the party later on and only serve appetizers. Who doesn’t love finger food and it can often be cheaper (and easier) to serve than a larger meal.
4) Set a budget and talk about it. If you can only afford to spend a certain amount on gifts, that is absolutely okay. To miss out on awkward moments during the exchange, chat about your budget beforehand.
5) Create new family traditions. Instead of exchanging gifts try participating in an experience the whole family can enjoy. Maybe it’s a family bowling game, or restaurant dinner. Maybe the whole family gets involved supporting a local charity or volunteering at a soup kitchen. It doesn’t matter what the experience is as long as it is something everyone can be a part of and connect to.
If you have any tips or tricks to make the holidays more affordable, I would love to hear about them.