Spending was up in November. Furthermore, according to the the National Retail Federation, holiday spending is expected to "increase 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion." During the holidays, it's easy to want to spend more. Presents, parties and trips are hard to resist. However, I'm taking some steps to keep my holiday spending under control.
Keeping my Gifts Modest
Once someone asked me what "big present" I gave my kids for Christmas. Honestly, I don't buy my children lavish gifts. We try not to make Christmas about spending money. We keep the bigger gifts for their birthdays. Furthermore, my husband and I usually exchange one gift. Typically, we keep it under $50.
Since my daughter and husband have vacation time, it would be easy to go out to eat and to the movies on a weekly basis. However, instead, I take advantage of free community events. Free snow days, holiday themed storytimes and craft events are all things available to our community. I use free movie codes to rent movies. There is even an event to see Santa and receive a free photo. This is much better than waiting in line at the mall and paying for pictures. Looking at a community magazine, newspaper or calendar is a good way to find these types of events.
Coupons and Cash Back
I wait to purchase presents until I find some steep discounts. Signing up for store emails is a good way to received a percentage off your purchase online. I also go through a cash back link so that I am given a percentage back. I receive an average of 5% back from a site called Ebates. It's nice to get some money back after the new year.
DIY Decor and Presents
I spent less than $10 this year on Christmas decor. I purchased a new string of lights and an advent calendar. The rest of my decor is from previous years or DIY projects. I like to find pinecones and then decorate them with glitter, paint and gems to place around the house. I also made homemade sugar scrub and luminaries for some of my gift recipients.
We never take any big winter vacations. We take local trips and stay with family. We might stay at a hotel for a night or two. However, I look at discount hotel sites for cheaper hotel rooms. We only travel a few hours so we save on gas money too. Sometimes, we plan a staycation and take advantage of what the surrounding areas have to offer.
By keeping my holiday spending under control, I can start the New Year debt-free and stress-free.
More from this contributor:
- Personal Finance - Lifestyle
- Holidays & Celebrations