Tips for a budget-friendly holiday season for your family

For many of us, the holiday season usually means a lot of spending. This can cause added stress and feelings of anxiety around the holidays. The best way to watch your family’s budget is to plan ahead. Don’t stress — we just entered into December, and it’s not too late! Here are some ideas to help you watch your family’s budget this holiday season.

Take inventory

Check out what you currently have for decorations, leftover wrapping paper, maybe even extra gifts you may have purchased on your last shopping extravaganza. You may be surprised by what you’ve forgotten about. It’s also a good way to put you in the budgeting mode before the holiday shopping gets out of hand.

Homemade treats as gifts

If you usually bring a basket of gourmet goods or a bottle of wine to co-workers, neighbors, or friends, try to get creative in the kitchen this year! Making batches of roasted nuts, homemade granola, fruit preserves, and holiday cookies are great ways to add a homemade touch to gifts. Canning them in mason jars or wrapping them up in clear wrap with holiday string is easy and gives you a perfect homemade gift. Check out these homemade goody ideas from You can also take a look at these awesome DIY gift ideas from the kids.


Get creative with your holiday vacation

Prices for vacation around the holidays and New Year’s tend to be high and expensive all around for travel and accommodations. This could be the year to stay in, do family activities locally, and reschedule that holiday vacation for a less expensive long weekend in January or February. Search flights to see what destinations are cheaper for the weekends you want to travel. If you are set on getting away for the holidays, think outside the box, and try to find destinations that are less hectic and expensive. Maybe this is the time to take advantage of that timeshare that was always in driving distance or planning a “staycation” where you can find a reasonable Airbnb nearby.

Make your lists, and check them twice

List-making can help us prepare for shopping, gift ideas, and more. They help keep us on track with our holiday shopping goals and curb spending. Making categories for gifts give us more options and provide more opportunity for finding items on sale.

Beware of sales

Sounds ironic right? While paying attention to sales can be extremely helpful, they can also cause us to spend on something we weren’t initially planning to buy. This is where that list making comes in handy! Scope out your sales, and then consult your list. If you find items within your category, score! If not, think twice about it.

Scope out deals ahead of time

The earlier the better, simply because you’ll have more time and opportunity to find things for better prices. If you missed out on Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, have no fear, as long as you start looking a few weeks before the holidays, you still have some time to compare. Many places will also price match or price adjust, so be sure to ask.  


Get creative with holiday decorations

The best time to buy holiday decorations are right after the holidays — a tip for next year! In the meantime, scope out the local secondhand shop for vintage decorations, or turn a weekend day into making your own decorations with friends or family. Check out these sites for some great DIY holiday decorating ideas and other holiday decorating ideas and tips from HGTV.   

Enjoying the holidays in a way that is also gentle on your budget will make the whole experience less stressful, and you’ll be able to focus on the important aspects of the holiday season.