Three Budget Items to Save Money During the Holidays

Christmas Money Jar with coins, dollar bills. Save money for Holidays

With the holidays right around the corner, you might be looking at your budget and wondering where you're going to come up with the additional funds for presents and parties. The winter holidays can be the most costly of all the special occasions because it seems almost everyone gets a gift. There are ways to save money during this bustling holiday season and stay within your means. Here are a few tips and tricks for setting up a workable budget to save money during the holidays.

Gift Giving

There's nothing as wonderful as seeing the looks on your family and friends' faces when they open your gift. However, when you need to buy everyone you know a gift in one month, it stretches your budget too far. Here are some tips on how to save money during the holidays when giving gifts:

  • Your children - Buy your children one special gift and a few small ones. For example, if your child is ready for their first bike, buy it along with a helmet, basket, and horn. You can wrap each gift separately so it seems like a lot of presents. Your child will remember the year they got a bike for Christmas forever.
  • Family members -If you have a large extended family, then buying gifts can cost a lot more than you're comfortable spending. This year, you can suggest a gift exchange. Everyone draws another family member's name and buys that person and only that person a present. You can set a price limit to ensure that no one goes overboard.
  • Office friends - You're probably not as close to the people in your office as you are your other friends, making it a great chance to bake some gifts. You can hand out tins of homemade cookies and fudge that everyone will love.
  • Friends - In place of giving presents this year, you can suggest a nice meal. You can either go to a local restaurant or whip up a gourmet meal at home. Your friends will love spending time together more than another sweater.

Be an Informed Shopper with Useful Black Friday and Cyber Monday Websites

There is a wealth of information available to you as close as your laptop:

  • Scope out Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals at blackfriday.com. The site also links to holiday catalogs from many retailers, including Hallmark and Home Depot. Toy shopping for the kids? Before you shop, check out the links to toy books like the Lego Holiday Toy Catalog and scan the year's Top Toy Lists from Walmart and Target.
  • Don't miss out on those early pre-Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. TheBlackFriday.com provides updated news on all the latest sales as soon as they are posted.

Holiday Meal

Holiday meals can test a tight budget even if you're only cooking for your immediate family. You're expected to serve turkey, ham, or duck with all the side dishes. It's similar to cooking a week's worth of meals at one time.

Buy your ham or turkey from the grocery store. Honey Baked Ham would like you to believe that only their shop can bake a ham but that isn't true. Your grocery store has a large selection of hams and turkeys. You can find organic and free-range turkeys.

In the weeks leading up to the holiday, most grocery stores put these entrees on sale at deeply discounted prices. They also run sales for popular holiday side dishes, such as sweet potatoes, cranberries, and pies, so read the sales circular of your local store to create your shopping list.

If you're hosting dinner for the extended family, ask people to bring a side dish. You can falter them by telling them how much the family loves their cranberry sauce or deviled eggs. Most of your family members will be happy to bring their signature dish and show off their mad skills.

Save Money During the Holidays on Travel

On your way to grandmother's house this holiday season? You might consider driving instead of flying. Airlines know that the winter holidays are one of the most popular times of year to travel and raise fares accordingly. Driving to your destination can save you a lot of money, especially if you have a large family.

If you have to fly, start checking airline fares as soon as you have your dates. The price of fares changes daily so keep an eye on the price until it fits in your budget.

It's easy to enjoy the holiday season on a tight budget. You just need to keep an eye on your budget and make changes to the basics to save money during the holidays.