Ten holiday budget tips for celebrating the season
Don’t let the holidays derail your finances. When market conditions are uncertain and prices are going up, it can be easy to spend more on gifts and holiday gatherings and save less toward other important financial goals, like your retirement. Start some new traditions with these budget-wise tips to help avoid overspending, so you can continue to meet your financial goals.
How do you budget for holiday spending?
1 Take inventory of what you already have
Do you have wrapping paper, tableware, or cards left over from last year? What decorations do you have stashed in boxes? Knowing what you already have can help you avoid unnecessary purchases—leaving more money for the things you do need.
2 Consider a gift exchange
Buying gifts for your entire family and social network can quickly add up. Gift exchanges are a fun alternative, and you can design them any way you want. You could have each person draw a name or do a themed grab bag. Be sure to set a dollar limit that fits everyone’s budget.
3 Set a budget and stick to it
Your holiday budget should include everything you need to buy, the activities you want to do, and travel costs if you’re not celebrating at home. To help you cover these expenses, consider temporarily scaling back or eliminating the nonessential items in your household budget and using this money for your festivities.
4 Be a savvy shopper
Every dollar counts when you’re on a budget, so:
- Shop around and ask stores if they’ll match prices
- Take advantage of promotional events, discounts, and coupons
- Consider shopping on websites that offer cash back such as Rakuten Rewards1
- Follow your favorite brands or stores on social media—many offer exclusive deals for followers
- Look for stores that offer free shipping or delivery
5 Pay cash when you can, and use credit cards wisely
Using cash may force you to think twice before putting an item in your shopping cart—helping you fight the urge to splurge. If you have to pay by credit card, consider using a card that offers rewards and try to pay your balance in full to help limit interest charges.
6 Give the gift of time
Instead of buying presents, consider creating coupons that your friends and family can cash in throughout the year for things such as babysitting, pet sitting, grocery shopping, or an activity of their choosing.
7 Create homemade gifts
Do you knit? Woodwork? Paint? Scrapbook? Use your hobby to make your loved ones presents. A handmade sweater means so much more than a store-bought one—and may cost less.
8 Consider alternatives to a formal dinner
Planning a meal for a large gathering can be expensive. A potluck dinner is a fun way to share the cost. You could have each person bring their favorite holiday dish, along with a copy of the recipe to share with the group.
9 Look for free and low-cost holiday activities
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy time with friends and family.
- Attend a holiday concert at a local school
- Host a holiday-themed game or movie night
- Participate in community events such as tree lightings
- Volunteer together at a local shelter or food bank
10 Give a gift to your future
When it comes to gift giving, don't forget about gifting yourself. Putting a little extra toward your retirement savings around the holidays is a nice alternative to another sweater or pair of shoes—and it can really add up.
Best wishes to you and your loved ones
However you plan to celebrate, John Hancock wishes you a safe and happy holiday season.
1 John Hancock and Rakuten Rewards are not affiliated, and neither is responsible for the liabilities of the other. John Hancock does not warrant or endorse the services provided by Rakuten Rewards.
This content is for general information only and is believed to be accurate and reliable as of the posting date, but may be subject to change. It is not intended to provide investment, tax, plan design, or legal advice (unless otherwise indicated). Please consult your own independent advisor as to any investment, tax, or legal statements made.