Budget Holidays -
Celebrate Big, Spend Little

Why is celebrating budget holidays so important? Many people go into debt during the holidays. In fact, according to CNN, the average American takes a minimum of six months to pay off holiday debt. 

Not my family. I consider myself a professional cheap holiday spender, because I grew up in a household of little money. Yet, my parents still managed to make things wonderful for us, and we always had neat surprises under the tree.

Maybe your family is used to lavish celebrations and spending. If so, it can be hard to get used to cutting back, but just because you spend less, doesn’t mean you can’t make wonderful memories. 

Whether you are celebrating Easter, Halloween, Hanukkah, or Christmas, here are my top practical tips for cheap holidays:

1. Always ask: “Do I really need to buy this?” Just because the neighbors next to you have their house lit up like the house in the Christmas Vacation movie, does that really mean you have to go drop several hundred dollars on decorations? Will your children still play with those “must have” toys in three or six months? 

2. Make it yourself. Halloween costumes, cookies, Valentine cards, and gifts for teachers or neighbors can all be made for less than retail. Not only does making things help you celebrate budget holidays, but it gives your family special memories of working on projects together. 

3. Shop ahead. Buy your Christmas gifts after Christmas and throughout the year when things go on sale. By the middle of March, many items cost 75% less than the price before Christmas. This is one of my favorite ways to cut back on costs for Christmas. 

4. Look for deals on travel. If you know you will be traveling over the holidays, either shop ahead when you see a special on airfare, or look for last minute deals. Either way can save you hundreds of dollars, and keep you free of debt. 

5. Re-evaluate your gift-giving.  How about one family gift instead of giving everyone a gift.

Every holiday is a time of precious family memories. You can have budget holidays, and still enjoy plenty of fun, food, laughter, and togetherness—plus the benefit of living debt free. 

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