By Ryan Laspina
Analyst, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
The holidays are a time to celebrate with food, fun and family. If you are like me, the season starts with Halloween and ends with New Year’s Day. Everything in between is about preparing for the next holiday.
While Thanksgiving and Christmas are special holidays, they are a large burden on your wallet. But there are some ways to save money, even during the holiday season.
Trim Thanksgiving Dinner Expenses with a Potluck Gathering
How about a potluck-style family dinner for Thanksgiving? A potluck is a great way to bring family together while ensuring that no one has to pay for the entire meal. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie add up to a hefty bill. Check with your family to see who will attend and what items they will contribute to the dinner.
Resist the urge to splurge on Black Friday. Many people avoid the crowds of Black Friday altogether. (Cyber Monday can be just as damaging to your finances.) However, if you enjoy shopping on Thanksgiving night and into Black Friday, you will be inundated with a plethora of “can’t miss” deals that quickly pile up.
You can get some gifts at reduced prices, but it is very easy to go overboard. Shop smart. Compare where the best deals are and buy only those items you truly need.
Set a Gift-Giving Budget and Stick to It
Buying presents costs money. A smart way to handle your holiday shopping is to first set a budget and put a set amount of money aside for shopping.
Many banks offer Christmas Club accounts in which savers deposit a set amount of money on a regular basis throughout the year. That will help you create a budget and the funds for your shopping.
Once you reach the limit of your budget, do not go over it. Price-checking various stores for the items you are looking for is a good way to avoid over-spending your budget.
Extend Your Holiday Budget with Off-Season Vacations
Go on vacation during the holidays. A winter vacation, especially for a small family or couple, actually helps you save money in the future. Depending on the destination, hotel rooms, restaurants, attractions and other accommodations are usually less expensive in the “off” months than they are during the summer.
We are all tempted to overindulge during the holiday season, whether it is eating too much, spending too much or binge-watching football or seasonal Hallmark movies.
The holidays force us all to spend money, so be prepared. A budget is a good start.