By: Jennifer Murray

25 Ways to Have a Financially Responsible Holiday Season

25-ways-to-have-a-financially-responsible-holiday-season

With Thanksgiving behind us, the stores are in full out competition for your dollars – flashing lights, bonus bucks, “free” gifts, and gimmicks galore! The temptation is to spend in the moment, go out to eat more, and treat ourselves to something well outside of our budgets. Without a plan, things can quickly get out of hand. So here are some ways you can be financially responsible, and without buyer’s remorse, come the New Year.

1.  Host a gift exchange or “Secret Santa”, instead of having the pressure to buy for every family member, coworker, or friend.

 

2.  Discover the deductions that can lower your tax bill and stop throwing money away. People who use a tax professional end up with $300-$800 more cash in their pocket compared to folks who do it themselves.

 

3.  Make homemade, meaningful gifts for family and friends. Forgo presents for adults in your family. After all, they are usually the hardest to buy for and already have much of what they want.

 

4.  Host simple family gatherings at home instead of going out for an expensive meal.

 

5. Plan ahead for extra expenses that can add up quickly – teacher gifts, party supplies, travel, etc.

 

6.  Always compare prices before making purchases.

 

7.  Set a budget and stick to it! Pay for Christmas gifts with cash. It creates accountability and helps you stick to the budget you’ve set.

 

8.  Save your receipts for a possible price-matching opportunity if the item goes on a bigger sale.

 

9.  Don’t purchase things just because they are a great deal. Remember your financial goals, and stick to your list.

 

10. Don’t get caught up in trying to get the best or biggest gift for kids or grand kids.

 

11. Find a charity that you are passionate about and donate some of the money you save to a good cause.

 

12. Stay out of the malls. Pick the stores you need to go into for a specific gift, or shop online.

 

13. Pack meals for road trips, instead of spending extra cash for out to eat.

 

14. Buy gifts throughout the year as you find things on sale. 

 

15. Have a pitch-in holiday meal, instead of taking on the expense of hosting the entire meal.

 

16. Search for promo codes, and free shipping codes for additional savings while shopping online.

 

17. Pass out Christmas cards to friends and family you see often, instead of wasting the postage.

 

18. Find ways to lower your monthly insurance costs. (Dave Ramsey’s ELPs can save most people at least $500 per year on their home and auto insurance.)

 

19. Grab groceries for Christmas meals now, during after Thanksgiving sales. Turkeys, hams, and other fixings will be marked down significantly, which makes it a great time to stock up.

 

20. Save on decorations by using what you have and shopping after Christmas clearance for next year’s trimmings.

 

21. Create meaningful, inexpensive holiday memories: Christmas movies in pajamas,
baking cookies for neighbors, caroling with friends to the local nursing home, driving around to look at Christmas lights, etc.

 

22. Go together with other friends and family for a combined gift.

 

23. Look for ways to serve others this season with practical gifts of love and time.

 

24. Pay yourself first! Don’t buy things that you’ll use for 5 minutes and then tire of. Instead, increase your retirement contribution before the end of the year to maximize your saving potential and save money on your taxes.

 

25. Most of all, don’t forget the MEANING behind the season.

 

What are some practical ways that help you save money during this holiday season? 

{Thanks so much to Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers for sponsoring this blog post and allowing us to share our personal financial story.}

7 Responses to “25 Ways to Have a Financially Responsible Holiday Season”

  1. Michelle@Gotchababy
    December 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    These are great ideas!

    My husband’s family is huge, so several years ago we switched to a secret santa for the kids. It’s fun to shop for two of your cousins, it’s not so fun to shop for 10!! The in-laws without kids always enter their pets, who are always fun for our kids to shop for. The grown ups ditched the exchange a few years ago, and now we bring $10 worth of Lotto tickets to dinner. We’ve also done liquor exchanges, which are fun.

    I try to hang on to Amazon gift card codes and random $ I may have in my Paypal account until it’s time to holiday shop.

    I also tend to end up with an extra birthday gift or two for my kids, which I’ll stash in my Christmas stash.

    Mostly though it’s just setting limits. Easier said than done, but I’m always glad come January.
    Michelle@Gotchababy recently posted.. An Edible Indy, Top Ten Local Gift Guide

    • Jennifer Murray
      December 5, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      You are one smart cookie, Michelle! Thanks for sharing, and yes it’s so about setting the LIMITS before hitting the stores or online.

  2. Lisa~
    December 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    Great tips Jenn! I am sure enjoying this series….so encouraging! And, in case anyone needs it, I happen to know a great tax professional that is godly and a genius with taxes. 🙂 Lisa~
    Lisa~ recently posted.. A Healthy Tip I Have Learned

    • Jennifer Murray
      December 5, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      True! I’ll send them your way! =)
      Thanks for the encouragement, Friend.

  3. blair @ wild and precious
    December 10, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    awesome post!! gets me thinking!! in some big and good ways!

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