The holiday season is a time that brings family and friends together for festive celebrations, intimate gatherings, delicious seasonal treats and other fun and merriment. Whether you are relaxing at home in front of a cozy fire with your loved ones, driving around looking at holiday lights and decorations or shopping for the perfect gifts for your family and friends, the holidays can truly be a time that creates magical memories and that instills a sense of tradition and gaiety in young and old alike. While the holidays are indeed magical, they can also be stressful. One of the leading causes of stress around this time of year involves financial concerns. If you are reviewing your Christmas budget and are wondering how you will pay for all of your gifts and plans, you are certainly not alone.
Why the Holidays Are So Expensive?
The holidays are an active, busy time for most. This is a season that is marked by numerous parties, beautiful decorations, great food and numerous gifts. Many also will either travel during this season or host family and friends visiting from out of town. From buying new clothes to wear to a corporate Christmas party to stocking your fridge with extra food for house guests or buying plane tickets for a big trip, you can easily spend hundreds or even thousands of extra dollars this time of year in addition to your regular expenses. The unfortunate truth is that many individuals are already living on a tight budget, and they simply do not have the extra cash on hand to pay for these expenses. When cash is not available, the next option that most people will consider is to use credit cards. It is unfortunately common for many families to take on extra debt during the holidays. However, if you do not have extra credit available on your credit cards, you may understandably be feeling stressed and anxious about your Christmas budget. There are some great ways that you can treat yourself and your loved ones to a magical holiday season without stressing out your budget.
Decorating for Christmas on a Budget
The holidays simply would not be quite as festive without all of the holiday-themed décor. While the malls, restaurants, nearby houses and other areas may be decorated, you may also want to decorate your home. Decorating for Christmas on a budget may be more affordable than you might think. First, pull out all of your decorations from last year. You may already have numerous items stored away, and you and your family can have a great time decorating your home while you listen to festive holiday-themed music. You may consider skipping exterior lights that can inflate your electricity bill. Focus on decorations that will not use energy. When you decorate your tree, think about turning the lights on for only an hour or two each evening to conserve energy. If you need to purchase a new tree or ornaments, consider shopping for used items through online classified listings or a local charitable organization.
Christmas Gifts On a Budget
Likewise, you can follow a few pointers to buy great Christmas gifts on a budget. First, make a list of everyone who you need to purchase presents for. If some people on your list are neighbors or colleagues, you may consider baking cookies or other sweet treats and giving them in a festive tin container. For grandparents, aunts and uncles on your list, purchasing an affordable frame and giving family photos or even works of art created by your kids can be a fun idea. Buying for children can be more challenging, and this is because they likely have special toys that they may anticipate receiving from Santa. It can be difficult to explain that Santa can afford to bring presents to the kids next door but not to them. With this in mind, you may consider focusing your extra money on the kids’ gifts. However, look for sales, coupons and more. If possible, consider buying a generic version of a toy that closely matches what they want. If the toys are not newly released, you may also be able to find affordable used toys that have only gently been used.
Christmas Meals On a Budget
Christmas with no money can be challenging because of the extra food that you may need to purchase as well. You may need to buy extra food for the big holiday meal or even for several meals if you will be hosting family members overnight at your house. Consider affordable options that serve many, such as soups or chili. Sandwiches, cereals and more are also affordable ways to feed overnight guests. For the big meal, consider asking those who are invited to bring a dish. While you may still need to purchase the ham or turkey, you can ask others to contribute beer and wine, desserts and other items that may be costly. Rather than invest in a full ham or turkey, sliced meat is often more affordable.
If Finances are a Struggle This Christmas…
Christmas can be a tough time for those experiencing financial difficulties. Hopefully some of these pointers will help you and your family to enjoy the Christmas season without compromising your finances. If you or a loved on are considering filing for bankruptcy you should contact us for a free consultation.
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