A Homesteaders Holiday Budget
It's time to start thinking about the holiday season if you haven't already, and how can we not....the Christmas decorations have been up in Hobby Lobby since June!
Even though we don't plan big parties for holidays at our home, we still do have get-togethers, eat more food than normal with friends and family around, do more decorating, and have more activities than we regularly do. All of these things can really add up and with the rising costs of everything, it's enough to make you want to throw your budget out the door because it's not working.
The key to having a good budget to get you through the holidays is careful planning. These tips don't just apply to those that are homesteading, they apply to everyone! Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. If you plan on having some kind of party, gathering, or even just decorating for each holiday, it might be a good idea to set a spending limit at the beginning of the year per holiday. Maybe you aren't planning on doing anything for Halloween but if you still want to budget for candy or decor, write down a budget for that holiday and the amount you think you can get everything with and then stick with it. If you have money leftover after the holiday you can either put that towards another holiday, or into your savings account.
2. If you do plan a party, don't feel like you have to do it all. Make it a potluck and ask friends and family to bring different kinds of dishes with them. It will make for a good variety of foods and you get to spend less time in the kitchen and they have to take their dishes home so less clean up for you!
3. Go easy on the decor. I love to decorate for a holiday no matter if we are having company over or not. I just love decorating. But I try and keep my decorating budget to a minimum. I shop last years holiday clearance to get decor for the next year. I don't think I've ever bought some decor for a holiday that was full price. Even though I love decorating, it's not a have-to-do thing so I know that I shouldn't spend alot on it.
4. Buy your gifts ahead of time. Don't spend full price if you don't absolutely have to. Make what you can. Shop clearance throughout the year. Utilize extra sources of “income” to help pay for gifts such as referral bonuses, Swagbucks dollars, survey dollars. Every $5 and $10 helps and takes off from the total amount that you ultimately spend. You could even sell some things that you no longer need no matter what time of year it is on a Facebook Garage Sale Group.
5. Find activities that are free or cost very little. Often around holidays you can find all kinds of things to do that are free or almost free. Take advantage of these things! When I was little one of my favorite things to do on Christmas Eve was get in the car with my family and drive around and look at all the pretty Christmas lights around town, then we would come home and play board games all evening. The only cost involved with the night was the little bit of gas to drive around town. One, if not the best part of the holidays, is being able to be with family, don't forget that.
If you are looking specifically for ideas on how to save money on gifts you will want to check out our Family Gift Exchange Ideas. Our system has been working very well for us for several years now!
How do you save on holiday expenses?
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