Last year, consumers spent an average of more than $800 on holiday gifts, food, decorations and more. With the holiday season in full swing, we will undoubtedly fill stores and break the internet in hopes of finding that perfect gift or hosting the hottest holiday gathering. While the holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year, they can also be the most expensive.
To help conquer the holidays, while staying on budget, we've compiled a list of Top 10 tips for saving during the holidays. Spending wisely at the end of the year can jumpstart a profitable new year. Top 10 Tips include:
1 Old School Party Style
Everything old and retro is new and hot. Take a page from your parent's party handbook and host a potluck dinner or progressive dinner party. Hosting a big holiday party alone can be costly, but getting friends and family involved can make it more festive and creative. For a Potluck Party, have each guest bring a dish and recipe card to share. It takes pressure off your bank account and it's a great way to share recipes and start conversations. Want to make it interactive? Join forces with a few friends and have each family host a portion of the progressive dinner. Start with happy hour at one house, move to appetizers at another place, dinner at a third location and dessert at the final house stop. Seriously, who doesn't like talking about food during the holidays and making it an all night affair?
2 Don't Get on the Finance 'Naughty' List
There's a lot of pressure during the holidays to get expensive gifts or the latest gadgets for everyone on your list and many gift givers fall prey to taking out store credit cards and financing gift giving. If you can't pay cash, don't buy it. This will save you tons in interest in the long run. Another idea, check out lay away plans in certain stores, so you can pay in installments and pick up your fully paid-off purchases right before the holidays.
3 Holiday Gift Games
Instead of buying everyone you know a gift, suggest a gift exchange game. From Secret Santa to White Elephant, there are so many to choose from, so hop online and find your favorite! This is sure to save you lots of cash, as well as add some fun to your ordinary gift giving routine.
4 Destination Holiday
Forego gifts, parties and huge family dinners and use your holiday budget to go on a trip instead. Take advantage of travel deals and specials, book early and enjoy an experience that won't break the bank and will be around long after the holidays are over. After all, memories last a lifetime and never go out of style. Yes, your extended family may never let you hear the end of it, but your wallet will be thanking you come January.
5 Skip the Crowds and Buy Online
With amazing online shopping at your fingertips, you can find name brands at affordable prices – all delivered to your door. Check out websites, such as Rue La La, One Kings Laneand Amazon for amazing deals. Also, look for coupons and promotions to take advantage of free shipping and extra deals. You can take holiday shopping to the next level by taking advantage of gift-wrapping services – so your gifts will arrive ready to go under the tree.
6 Celebrate the DIY-days
If you are the creative type, DIY projects can be a great penny pincher. This can go for gifts or holiday decor. Make it a craft party and host a DIY gift making get together with friends – it's the perfect way to kick off the season and knock out your gift list. Cheers!
7 Make a List and Check it Twice
Creating a budget seems simple enough, right? Holiday spending can quickly spin out of control; so make a plan for family, friends, co-workers, parties and travel. Once you have everything written down, and have picked yourself up off the floor, check to see where you can cut costs.
8 Spread Charitable Cheer
Put a spin on volunteering. Instead of flying solo grab your friends and hit the volunteer scene. There are so many ways to get involved, whether it be helping a neighbor, working at a homeless shelter, starting a toy drive or visiting a nursing home. Also go through old clothes, kitchenware, bedding and electronics. Donating is a great way to help others and not to mention a tax write-off. Giving back will not only make you feel great, but it's what the season is all about. So get out there and spread some free cheer.
9 Shop out of Season
Take advantage of after season deals by shopping for holiday decor and even gifts after the holidays. Enjoy the falalala savings -- your house will look great next season, while your bank account will be very merry this season.
10 Replace Holiday Cards with Social Media
Sending holiday cards can be very expensive. Embrace the digital age and save on purchasing cards and postage by sending electronic cards or posting a holiday greeting on social media.
What do you think? Share your holiday budget tips in the comments section below.