Staying on track with your money by holiday budgeting doesn’t have to make you feel like a cheapskate. You can be frugal and Griswoldian at the same time with these smart tips for budgeting at the holidays.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Holiday Budgeting For Festive Folks
No-one wants to be seen as too tight-fisted during the holiday season when everyone is in the mood for sharing and giving!
It doesn’t mean that the holiday season has to be expensive and extravagant (but it should be eggnogy imo).
Holiday budgeting doesn’t mean giving up on everything you love about the holidays. Setting a holiday budget means you prioritize the traditions that mean the most to you about the holidays, while letting go of some of the things that cost money that don’t mean much to you.
You can still rock those matching holiday jammies, and buy that giant blow-up lawn ornament you used to make fun of on other people’s lawns (before you had kids). But maybe you don’t buy gifts for all the neighbors this year (isn’t getting to view your giant lawn ornament gift enough?)
Recovering from financial difficulties sometimes takes a lot of effort and being frugal is wise, even when things are starting to look a little brighter for the times ahead. Using some simple strategies for holiday budgeting, holiday spending doesn’t have to be difficult.
- Early Black Friday Deals: The Best Deals You’ll Want to Get First
- Dollar Store Stocking Stuffers Your Kids Will Love To Wake Up To
- 100 Free or Frugal Christmas Ideas
- Saving Money at Christmas: 5 Ideas to Save and Not Feel Like a Total Scrooge
- The Best Holiday Money Saving Tips for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas
1. Handmade Gifts
One of the first strategies a lot of people can use is looking at what skills and talents they have, and how these can help in the holiday giving period.
If you are crafty, use those craft skills to make gifts or dress up the presentation of gifts. This will help you save money at Christmas and keep you to your holiday budgeting goals.
Lots of people appreciate the thought and effort that goes into handmade gifts more than something that would cost the same or more if bought in the store.
And handmade gifts do require a lot of thought and effort to prepare to the tastes of each person.
Bartering your skills is a unique holiday budgeting tool that many people don’t think of.
Sometimes there is someone on the gift list who just won’t appreciate the skills or crafts that you are good at.
However, there is the possibility of trading these skills or craft items for something that person would appreciate. What if the person is an aficionado of cigars, for example? Is the local cigar dealer a dog nut? Try knitting a sweater for her dog and see if a trade is possible.
What about other family members? Perhaps there is some service or item that one of them would need in exchange for help getting that hard to obtain gift.
Related reading: 10 Cheap Gifts for Dad Who Wants Nothing (he will love these!)
3. Holiday Budgeting With Gift Coupons
Also, think about gift coupons as a way to stick to your holiday budget and save money.
Perhaps someone would appreciate a nicely made card with the promise to help doing difficult chores around the home instead of something bought in the store.
Too seldom do people really think about using time as a gift – and sometimes that can be the best gift of all!
Related reading: 7 Easy Ways to Earn Extra Money in Time for Christmas
4. Pool Your Money to Make It Go Further
Sometimes the ideal gift is out of reach for one person to buy alone, especially if you are budgeting at the holidays.
In this case it could be a good idea to combine efforts and have people pool together to obtain what would otherwise be unattainable.
There is nothing wrong with showing this concerted effort and the sharing that can be done between people. And everyone gets that warm feeling of having attained something greater.
5. Share Hosting Duties and Expenses
Combining efforts can also apply to holiday hosting, not just gift giving.
Sometimes the strains of hosting are more than one household can support. Perhaps people can offer to assist by contributing something to the table. It is not inexpensive to host a whole elaborate dinner, especially if your household is holiday budgeting this year.
If everyone pitches in, then the burden can be lightened all around and it can even spread more love and togetherness at a time when it is needed most.
And never forget about the preparations and clean up! These are chores that really should be shared by all. Put on some jams and make it fun!
Related reading: Christmas Budget: How to Make a Budget You Can Stick With
6. Give Gifts to the Kids Only
Other ideas that people use for stretching holiday budgets include only giving gifts to children.
A lot of adults have everything they need, and don’t necessarily want the extra clutter that comes with all the Christmas gifts.
Just make sure this holiday budgeting idea is agreed upon by everyone involved before you do it so there are no misunderstandings or hard feelings! Some people’s love language is gifts so make sure everyone is in agreement.
- Preschool Gifts: 6 Unique Gifts That Are Educational and Totally Fun
- Wooden Toy Gift Guide for Kids
- Best Inspirational Books for Girls
7. Secret Santa
Secret Santa can help you save money on Christmas gifts.
If your family is holiday budgeting, consider doing Secret Santa this year. It can add a really fun element as nobody knows who got who.
It cuts down on clutter and shopping stress as each person only gives and receives one gift.
Related reading: 5 Important Money Habits You need to Have Good Finances
8. Potluck Christmas Dinner
Having everyone chip in a little bit towards the main course costs (turkey or ham, or tofurkey depending on your preferences!), goes a long way if you are holiday budgeting.
Either everyone can contribute a certain amount of money to the household that is hosting the dinner, or each family can bring a different dish to the dinner. This will help a lot if holiday budgets are tight this year.
Related reading: 16 Genius Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget You Need to Know
9. Experiences As Gifts
Another option if you are holiday budgeting is for everyone to have a day out spending time together doing something special instead of giving gifts. And this can be most memorable and last longer than any of the others or traditional gifts.
If you are going the inexpensive gift route, check out: 20 Strange and Useful Things to Buy on Amazon Under $25 for some fun ideas (#17 is awesome for cold winters!!)