How to Avoid Sacrificing Your Wish List

Americans are projected to spend an average of $935.58 this holiday season, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. With gifts, food, decorations, and more on the shopping list, it comes as no surprise.

If overspending is not on your wish list this year, rest easy. There are plenty of opportunities to cut costs while still being able to enjoy the little things that matter most. Use these six suggestions to help you spend exactly what you want this holiday season.

How to Avoid Sacrificing Your Wish List

Create a Budget. Take the time to identify what is important to you this season by Developing Your Holiday Spending Plan. What can you afford to spend on what or who? What can you afford to go without? Write it down and keep this in mind as you begin shopping for the holidays. If you plan to use a credit card, remember to try to pay your balance in full or pay it off as soon as possible to avoid accumulating interest.

Establish New Traditions. Holiday traditions don’t have to involve doing something that costs us a pretty penny. Stay in for a night of movies, hot chocolate, and baking. Get the family together for a night out in the town for free events like the Trail of Lights. Dedicate a weekend to volunteering at a local food bank or collecting toys and coats for children. There are so many things to choose from.

Have a Potluck. I hope I don’t speak for only myself when I say a lot of eating occurs during the holidays. If you’re hosting all the family gatherings, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking everyone to bring something will help with more than reducing costs. You’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the company of those you love. Just remember to have everyone coordinate so you don’t end up having a whole bunch of desserts.

Change it Up. Buying gifts for everyone in your family can be quite the expense, especially if there are a lot of you. Speak up and get the discussion going. Should the little ones be the only ones receiving gifts? Do you prefer to include everyone and draw names? What is the price range? You may be surprised to find you are not the only one feeling a sense of relief.

Get Creative. As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to reduce costs, not by eliminating expenses but by getting creative. Put your skills into practice with YouTube and Pinterest; we can do almost anything ourselves by simply watching a tutorial. Get inspired with these 50 DIY Holiday Decorating Ideas and these 45 Holiday Gifts You Can Start Making Now. The thought and personal touch will make your gift just that much better.

Track Expenses. Creating a spending plan is only half the battle when it comes to controlling costs. The other half consists of actually following your plan. Be sure to keep track of your expenses so you know where you stand at all times. If you spend a little too much in one area, spend a little less in another area. This will help you stay on track overall.

Keep your holiday budget in check with our downloadable Gift List and Holiday Budget Worksheet.