Sure, the Christmas season is supposed to be all merry and bright, but what if this year’s finances just didn’t measure up? Though Christmas is supposed to be a jolly and joyous occasion, it tends to have the opposite effect on families who are already struggling with money. With that said, it’s no surprise that many American families are looking for ways to cut back on the holiday spending, especially for those paying back a cash advance left over from a financial emergency. Thankfully, there are ways to work around the budget-busting holiday season without totally giving up your Christmas cheer. Here are some ideas for a Merry Christmas on a on a not-so-merry budget!
If you’re stressing out over what to get your friends, neighbors, in-laws, and kid’s school teachers this year, don’t panic! When planning gifts for this many people, it may seem easier to just buy them all assorted chocolates and call it a day, but that could easily cost you half your paycheck. Why not make something special for them instead? When it comes to those small “thinking of you” Christmas gifts, you can’t go wrong with a bag of homemade Christmas cookies. They’re easy, fun to make, and best of all, they’re cheap!
You could boost your savings this year by adopting a quality-over-quantity approach for your kid’s gifts. Explain to each of your kids that for this year, they will each get one ‘special gift’. Give them an idea of how much that gift should be and then stick to your list. This way, you won’t get caught up in an avalanche of costly gift demands and it’ll make the whole Christmas shopping experience less stressful to boot.
Rather than focusing your time on buying gifts for people, try something new this year. Instead of stopping in the stores and shopping outlets, try stopping in at the homes of your friends, family and neighbors. The best way to spread Christmas cheer isn’t always by buying presents for everyone, but by gracing everyone with your presence. The time you spend with your loved ones is more valuable than any amount of money you could spend on them.
You could always build up the presents under the tree by wrapping practical gifts you were going to buy for them anyway. For example, along with the kids’ ‘special gifts’, why not wrap up their new socks and shoes too? It’ll mean more presents for them to open up on Christmas morning, prolonging the Christmas cheer just a little bit more.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remind your kids what the Christmas season is really all about: not the presents themselves, but the love behind giving them. While many people are feverishly budgeting their Christmas funds they saved all year for, you can have a nice relaxing Christmas by going without. Not every Christmas has to fill up your time with shopping for gifts and stuffing stockings. There are times in life when it pays to step back and appreciate what really matters. And if doing so saves you a buck or two, well that’s good too!