It’s that time of year, the time of holiday joy and cheer and spending more money than you would all year long. And then come January you’re going to end up having a Christmas debt hangover. But just like you can avoid hangovers of alcohol by drinking lots of water you can avoid that holiday debt hangover as well. You’ve just got to prepare a little bit. Here are some ideas and ways that you can avoid having that that hangover come January.
Set a Christmas Budget
First things first, look at what you can actually afford to spend and set a budget. That’s the money you have to work with and there’s a lot of ways you can get creative and stay within that budget. But first, you need to know how much you are working with. So take the time to know what is the absolute maximum amount you can afford to spend on the holidays.
Alternatives to Giving Everyone a Gift
Now the more people you have to get gifts for means the more expensive Christmas can be. So because we’re all adults here, let’s talk about some alternatives to giving everyone a gift.
Consider instead of doing a gift for everyone, get the whole group together and draw names so that each person is only responsible for one gift. Basically do a secret santa with your family and friends rather than just your co-workers. It will save you both time and money.
I tried to get this going with my family three years ago, it didn’t go well. Ultimately, it resulted in each of us having to do four gifts which didn’t save that much. What we did that year was really fun but it didn’t serve the purpose of saving money the way I had hoped my suggestion of drawing names would. But lo and behold it worked this year, everyone’s agreed to draw one name so we are each only responsible for one person. I’m pretty excited about it.
Only do gifts for Kids
If you want to skip gifts altogether at least when it comes to adults that’s another way to save. Most adults and admittedly everyone’s situation is different, are able to get themselves what they need. Sure there may be things that they want but if you are getting them something they will likely feel obligated to get you something too and it may just be easier to cut it all out to begin with.
Instead of drawing names, just say you’re not going to do gifts for the adults. Make getting gifts for kids optional. In my case, my niece and nephew, already have tons of stuff so I’ll probably just get them each something small.
Hosting Christmas Can Be Expensive – Try a Potluck
Now, if hosting Christmas is why your budget tends to be go overboard then there some ideas and ways you can save there as well. Because hosting a lot of people gets expensive, not just in the food you provide, but also the cost of utilities and shuttling everyone around. To save at least when it comes to food, perhaps try a potluck.
Invite others to go grocery shopping and then make whatever they contribute to the meal themselves. It takes the stress off of only one or two people having to prepare the meal and also saves money.
Use Reward Points for Shopping
Now, you’ve been spending money all year long and hopefully you’ve been doing it wisely and using your credit cards responsibly. Which means if you got rewards credit cards you probably have some rewards points that you can redeem to save yourself some money this holiday season.
You could get some cash back to help pay for gifts. Or maybe use travel points to help cover the cost of traveling to see people. Or perhaps you’ve earned some gift cards s that you could either just straight up give the gift cards as gifts or use them to buy all the gifts. Whatever rewards points you have cash them in and save your checking account from being hit too hard this holiday season.
Wrapping it Up with a Bow on Top
So hopefully this has given you some ways and ideas to make sure you don’t end up with the holiday that hangover come January. Remember to set a budget. Think of alternatives to giving gifts to everyone because the cost can really add up.
Finally, take advantage of what you already have to help save money, so that could be rewards points, or it could be other friends and family that can help cook the holiday meals or could be something I haven’t even mentioned here. Get creative, just get started early and you’ll be fine when it comes to your budget this holiday season.