Before you know it, another year will be coming to a close, but not before the holiday season comes around. Christmas is the time to spend with family and friends, spoiling both them and yourself.
But this can be expensive. You probably don’t want to be starting the New Year with an empty pocket, so how about arming yourself with a strategy to keep costs down for this year’s festivities?
And if you think it’s too early to start thinking about how to save in the holiday season, consider how now is the time that you start thinking about what to do at the end of the year. So before you start envisioning how your holiday season is going to play out, first think about how you want to manage your finances.
Determine your budget
Saving isn’t just about spending as little money as possible. It’s about spending wisely. If you want to save money, you need to think about how much you can spend. To have a cost effective holiday, you want to know how much you can spend on what, so that you aren’t wasting cash reserves in areas that don’t matter.
Don’t just think of your overall budget. Work out how much you are willing to spend on different aspects of your holiday. Then you need to make sure that your budget is systematically implemented.
Choose your destination
Where you go for your holiday depends on your budget. If you’re staying home this holiday, in other words having yourself a staycation, you’ll save a lot of money while you rediscover your city anew. If you do want to go away, think about what destination suits your budget. Perhaps you only want to get out the house? In which case, maybe a staycation will do the trick, where you remain in your own city.
If you want to travel to new destinations, think about first exploring your home country, before deciding to jet off to foreign lands – at great expense. And if you must be in a different country, why not one of our African neighbours?
Nothing says you love someone like giving them a store-bought thing wrapped up in colourful paper. Or does it?
Many of us go all out on gift-giving. But a generous heart comes at a price. Why not work out something different this year with your loved ones. After all, most people will be open to the idea of saving money. This doesn’t mean you have to give dry macaroni-encrusted handmade cards to everyone. There are other creative ways to say you care without forking out for it. For instance, instead of buying your best friend an expensive bracelet to tell her you appreciate her, you could come over and paint that fence she’s been meaning to do for months.
If you are going to spend money buying gifts, don’t leave it to the last minute. Start early to make sure you take advantage of the best deals and resources out there. Like with online tax free shopping where you can pick up duty-free items, or keeping an eye on popular bargain hunting sites like Groupon.
Cut Back on Extras
Splurging on a pair of shoes for yourself, getting a cup of coffee at your favourite coffee shop every morning, these little extras add up. We indulge a little more than we should during the holiday season. But you don’t want to be stuck in a trap where continual spending on “extras” eats into your budget. So before you splurge on a little treat or “extra” for yourself, be sure it’s really worth the cost.
Have fun inside
You don’t need to always be out and about to be enjoying yourself. It’s great fun going out for dinner with your friends, but why not make that an occasional treat, and rather invite people to your place and ask everyone to bring one dish. There are plenty of ways you can still have a great time at home. And if you’re not vacationing at home, there are still more affordable options out there for you spend your days. Like instead of taking your kids to the mall, where they will want to spend a lot of money to enjoy themselves, you could rather organise a day at the beach, and bring a packed lunch.
Saving money this holiday season isn’t about not doing anything fun. It’s about cultivating a simpler life that you still can enjoy to the fullest, but without the hefty price tag.