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Five ways to have a great festive period without a huge holiday budget

holiday budget

Who doesn’t love the holidays? It’s a time for festivities, the season of giving and chance to snatch some precious moments with your nearest and dearest. All this merriment, unfortunately, can get expensive. And I mean really expensive. 

We come, however, bearing tidings of joy. You can still have a magical holiday period without a massive holiday budget. How, you ask? Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be heading into the new year without a great financial burden (just a great physical burden from all that festive feasting). So, strap on your Santa hat and pull up your stockings as we give you our top tips for celebrating the holidays on a budget.

 Tip one: Set a spending limit, and stick to your holiday budget

Before diving headfirst into your holiday shopping, take a moment to plan exactly how much you can afford to spend, and where this money will be going. It’s best to think of this in the broadest terms possible, accounting for everything from gifts to food to that new hideous holiday sweater.  

Once you’ve decided on your spending limit, stick to it! This advice can be particularly hard to follow around the holidays, as it’s all too easy to get caught up in the festive spirit. But once you’ve settled on your holiday budget, and are determined not to overspend, you can put your mind at ease knowing that you’re not going to get a nasty surprise when you check your bank balance once the snow has settled.

We strongly recommend that you track your spending carefully, not only to make sure that you stay within your limits but also so that you can more accurately plan for next year. 

Tip two: Plan in advance

Speaking of next year, it’s important to remember that when it comes to being thrifty, planning is your friend. It always feels like the holidays creep up on us but they really shouldn’t, they’re literally the same time every year. 

With this in mind, there are certain things you can do throughout the year to ease the financial pressure of the festive season. First, take advantage of sales whenever you see them. There’s absolutely no reason you have to buy presents at the last minute. If you see a great gift in a summer sale, then go for it! Who cares if it’s July? No one is going to know.

A 'SALE' sign in a shop window.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Even if you don’t want to buy things throughout the year, you can still spread the financial load by setting aside a bit of money each month for the holidays. Whilst this doesn’t actually lower the amount you’re spending, it certainly helps to take the sting out of it. 

Want a pro tip? Get all your wrapping paper, cards and decorations in January at a massively discounted price!

Tip three: Communicate with your friends and family

It’s the holidays, you should be doing this anyway… it’s kind of the point. But we mean talking to them specifically about keeping down costs. Too often we hear people lament the fact that they have a certain friend who always gets them something expensive, and they feel obliged to reciprocate. And we get it, no one wants to be a Scrooge but if you can’t afford to spend loads of money buying people gifts, you should never feel like you have to. Remember people, presents are not the priority! 

This said, when it comes to gifts, there are several ways you can work with your loved ones to drastically reduce your spending. One obvious solution is to agree on spending limits. Set a cap at $20, or whatever amount suits your budget and that way, no one feels under pressure to splash out. Also, you shouldn’t feel awkward suggesting it! Chances are, your friends and family are as concerned about their holiday spending as you. Not only will this save you money, but it will force you to be more thoughtful about your gift-giving, which will inevitably lead to better presents.

A woman about to open a holiday gift.
Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Alternatively, set up a gift exchange with your friends and family. That way you don’t have to get everyone a gift, but nobody is left empty-handed. You can also apply the same principle to your holiday dinner. Hosting an elaborate meal can get super costly. Instead, organize a potluck dinner and have each guest bring one dish. Again, saving money is not the only benefit here. Events such as these are often more fun than traditional practices and help bring everyone together. 

Tip four: Get creative

A really great way to save money is to… wait for it… buy less stuff. *Collects award for most obvious statement of the year.* But seriously, where you can, avoid buying things like decorations and just make them yourself. 

There are literally hundreds of DIY guides online that teach you how to make different decorations, so you’re bound to find something that will suit your home. For example, the website/app Instructables is full of user-submitted, step-by-step instructions and has some great holiday decorating ideas. You can also make your own cards, wrapping paper and even presents (if you’re feeling super crafty). 

An assortment of various arts and crafts items, such as paint and beads.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Taking the creative approach to the holidays is more frugal, more fun and provides more opportunities for bonding with your family and friends. It’s almost like the holidays aren’t all about spending money…

Tip five: Keep it simple

… Which leads us to our final point. It’s far too easy to get over-excited during the festive period but before you start splashing your cash, it’s important to remember what the holidays are actually about: Spending some quality time with those you love. Something which, in its essence, costs absolutely nothing. Yes, we know its cheesy, but it’s also true. 

Of course, you want to have a nice meal, go on some lovely outings and get your loved ones a little something special. And we’re not saying you shouldn’t. If your holiday budget shows you can afford to, and you want to, you definitely should. But do you really need all the extras? Do your presents need to be wrapped in expensive bows? Do you have to buy the most lavish chocolates? Do your kids need 15 presents? Chances are, the answer is no. 

Except for the chocolates… maybe those are necessary. 

Bonus Tip 

Jokes aside, the holiday season is one of those things that everyone assumes has to cost a lot, but actually doesn’t. A lot like your cell phone bill. There’s plenty of folk out there paying $60-100 per month for their cell phone usage when they just don’t need to! With Ting, you only pay for what you use so if you use less, you pay less. It’s really that simple. That’s why our customers have an average monthly bill of just $23. So whether you’re saving for the holidays, or just looking to spend less in general, find out whether you can bring your phone and your number to Ting today! 

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