Can you enjoy a bountiful holiday season without breaking the bank? Mission impossible right? Wrong! Here are some perfect budget-friendly stocking stuffers tips for those individuals wishing to spend a beautiful Christmas with loved ones without the added expense to your wallet. Attention! Being budget-friendly this holiday doesn’t mean spending the special week alone watching your Christmas tree dry out. By simply budgeting your time as well as your money well in advance you can still enjoy the holidays without the added stress of worrying about your finances.
When hosting family and friends, don’t overspend to impress
This year, are you hosting the Christmas or New Year's Eve celebrations? Start by setting a reasonable budget according to the number of guests you expect that night. Then be sure to plan for your party well in advance. That means budgeting out your time to allow yourself enough time to find the best discounts and deals. Don’t fall into the “buy one get one free trap”. Remember, flyers are your best friend. By reviewing them in the weeks leading up to the holiday season you will be able to quickly determine where to shop, and more importantly, where to save on the go-to items you’ll need to celebrate.
For example, it’s easy to store wine, cookies, frozen hors d’oeuvres, soft drinks, preserves, etc., well in advance of the holidays. That in mind, don’t forget to check the space available in your freezer before making your purchases! Finally, look to pre-cook jams or cranberry sauce (a classic!) to make the most of your time and money leading up to your holiday celebration.
The day before, set a great mood for your big night by preparing the finger foods yourself. The added effort will go a long way to liven up the atmosphere around the living room table. Remember, it’s usually much cheaper to prepare the hors d'oeuvres yourself than to buy them. And hand’s down… the food is usually way better! Also, think about dressing up the the cheapest raw vegetables in season with maybe a mayonnaise-mustard Dijon dip or even the classic mayo-ketchup that all kids love!
The never ending gift list
Every year, we put way too much pressure on buying the perfect gift for every colleague, friend and relative. The stress can exhaust not only your time but your holiday budget. What’s more, when you think you've finished spoiling everyone with that special gift, surprise surprise… your recluse brother-in-law decides to make an unexpected appearance.
Do yourself a favor… settle this once and for all by establishing a holiday budget. Then respect it! Remember the special envelope your grandmother always had full of money? Don’t laugh, try it yourself. It’s a simple and very effective way of staying on budget. Take an envelope and drop the total budget in cash that you have for holiday gifts. When you gift shop, always leave the plastic at home and bring only that envelope. When it’s empty, your gift giving is done for the year.
Take the envelope challenge, and you’ll quickly see that when you hold the cash in your hands, you’ll be more aware of what you’ve already spent, and what you have left to spend.
Free Gifts: Get Out Your Cards!
No, no, not your credit cards! Your loyalty cards… Air Miles, pharmacies, grocery stores, cinema, etc. When it comes to taking advantage of the loyalty landscape out there in the marketplace, the sky is the limit. And what better time to redeem your points for gift certificates or actual gifts than the holidays! The redemption of points you’ve accumulated throughout the year is usually free and best of all, can translate into a gift bonanza for you and your loved ones.
- This holiday season, it’s important to set yourself a reasonable budget and stick to it especially if you are hosting festivities at home. That means don’t overspend to impress!
- Be smart. Purchase non-perishable goods or food you can freeze several weeks in advance of the big day. By doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy deep discounts each and every week leading up to the holiday season.
- Look to leverage your loyalty cards for free gifts.
- And always try to use cold hard cash rather than your credit cards when purchasing a gift.