Holiday Budgeting Tips:
How To Save Money with Kids This Season
While the holidays are often called the “happiest time of the year,” they can also be the most expensive time of the year. Between gifts, decorations and food, holiday expenses can quickly add up.
We know you want to create a memorable seasonal experience for your whole family, but there are ways to do this without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for how to stay on budget during the holidays with kids.
Start Budgeting for the Holidays Early
One of the biggest mistakes parents make is not setting a budget for the holiday season before they start shopping. Decide in advance how much you want to spend on holidays this year in total. Then break that number down and allocate pools for gifts, decorations and food.
It’s helpful to write out a list of everything you need this year and a rough estimate of what each item costs. Take inspiration from Santa and make a list of who you need gifts for, and don’t forget to check it twice. Creating a budget and setting aside a certain amount of money in advance will stop you from overspending and splurging on last-minute items.
Host a Potluck Holiday Meal
Is it your turn to host the big holiday dinner this year? Take some of the financial stress off yourself by hosting a potluck dinner with your family and friends. At a potluck, everyone brings one dish so no one has the burden of cooking the entire meal. This is a fun way to introduce your children to different flavors that aren’t in your usual cooking wheelhouse.
Get your kids involved by asking them to help cook a dish or two. To help foster a love for cooking, consider gifting them one of our top foodie books for kids.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It can be easy to fall into the trap of ordering brand new gifts and decorations every year. However, some of the best ornaments can come from things you already have lying around the house.
Paint wine corks white, draw on a face and create your very own snowman! Take bottle caps and cover them in paint and glitter to create festive orbs. Finally, try cutting up newspaper into snowflakes to make holiday ceiling decorations. Upcycling decorations is not only a money-saver, but it provides a fun activity for families and a way to teach children the importance of reducing waste.
Try One of These Gift Exchange Alternatives
When you have a big extended family, it can be pricey to buy everyone their own gift. Try an alternative gift exchange this year like Secret Santa or White Elephant.
In Secret Santa, your family draws names ahead of time and each person only needs to get a gift for the one family member whose name they drew. For White Elephant, everyone brings a single general gift. All of the gifts get put in the middle of the circle, and people take turns either unwrapping a new gift, or “stealing” an already-opened gift from another person.
Both of these options are fun for the whole family and an easy way to save money this holiday season.
Look for Inexpensive Family Activities
There are so many holiday activities that are completely free. Try going caroling as a family, or bundle up and take a walk around to look at holiday lights.
If you’re near Indianapolis, there are tons of holiday light displays to choose from. Find the best ones in your neighborhood and make it interactive by having your family members rate each display on a scale of 1-10 and point out what they like about it.
Switch to E-cards
Save money this year by not printing or buying holiday cards. Instead, send fun and festive e-cards that are totally free.
Blue Mountain is a free site that lets you customize your e-cards. These cards range from funny to reverent to musical, so there’s something for everyone. Your children can join in on the design to exercise their creativity.
We Hope You Enjoy These Holiday Budgeting Tips
All of us at Brighter Futures Indiana wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season. Looking for thoughtful gift ideas for your child’s early education staff? Don’t waste money on things they won’t like. We’ve compiled a list of holiday gifts early childhood professionals will love.