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Do you think it is possible to avoid spending for the holidays? This might be a tough concept for some people to accept. We all know that among the other months, it is the year-end holidays that will get us to spend way beyond our usual budget. This is the reason why the major sale event like Black Friday or Cyber Monday happens during this time of the year. People are expected to spend a lot of money simply because this is the time of the year to be generous. We all get those big bonuses from work. We all celebrate a lot of holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. This is the time to be a blessing and to be blessed in return. This is what makes this season very exciting. So how can we even think that it is possible to not spend even a single cent? Of course, it is not possible to not spend anything. What we are talking about is spending beyond the usual amount in your monthly budget. Is that even possible? Believe it or not, it really is. Although admittedly, this is something that will be difficult to accomplish. Some people find it hard to control their holiday shopping. What more if they are limited to their usual budget? Obviously, it will take a lot of sacrifices - and planning.
3 holiday spending categories and how not to spend on them
According to the survey done by NRF.com, it is expected that every consumer will be spending for the holidays an average of $805.65. This is almost the same as what the consumer spent in 2014 - which is $802.45. The survey revealed a data that retailers use to forecast the buying behavior of consumers during the holiday season. It is important for them to understand this so they can maximize their sales. The importance of this buying season should not just be a concern of the retailers. It should also be a concern of the consumers. You want to be able to maximize your resources. One of the things that you need to be careful with is holiday debt. You want to enjoy this season without falling into debt. If you are living from paycheck to paycheck, then it is vital for you to learn how to avoid spending for the holidays. At least, more than what you do during the off peak months of the year. Before you can plan for this, you need to identify the three major categories that you usually spend on this season. As we go through them one by one, we can also discuss the different ways that you can avoid spending on these categories. Holiday gifts The first category of spending for the holidays involves gifts. After all, this is the gift giving season. You naturally have to give gifts to show your appreciation to those that you love. Of course, this will come at a cost. According to the study done by the National Retail Federation, it is expected that consumers will spend an average of $462.95 for family members this holiday. We should also consider the gift that we will give ourselves. The same survey revealed that more than half of holiday shoppers will be splurging on themselves by an average of $131.59. While spending on our loved ones and ourselves is a great way to show appreciation, you have to realize that this is not the only way to do so. We can give gifts without spending anything. The key is to offer what you already have that you do not need to spend on. For instance, you can offer your time. If you cannot give a gift to your friends, you can offer babysitting coupons to those with kids or possibly a house chore coupon. This is something that you can do out of love. You can do the same for your relatives. You are actually giving them something that is much more valuable than any other gift. When you give them your time, that is already something that you can never take back. That makes it quite precious compared to an impersonal gift card. Holiday feast The next category that you will be spending for the holidays is the holiday feast. We all have to eat and during this season, we forget all about our diets. We want to feel the spirit of abundance and that makes us more inclined to spend on feasts. In fact, an article published on ConsumerAffairs.commentioned that spending for the holidays do not only refer to gifts. It also involves the tasty dinner that we share with family and friends. It is fun to share a meal with people that we love. But the more people you eat with, the greater the cost. In order to save up for this expense, you need to plan your meals. If you want to invite family and friends over, you should ask them to bring a dish or two for sharing. That way, you do not have to spend for the whole meal. And since you know the holidays are coming, you should start to plan your meals. This will allow you to stock up on the staples, canned produce, herbs, and spices when it goes on sale. Holiday travel The last of the categories that people are usually spending for the holidays is travelling. This usually involves a long vacation from work and school. This gives people the free time to visit far away places to relax or get reacquainted with family and friends. Based on the data compiled by Department of Transportation in the website, DOT.gov, the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holidays are among the most popular periods to go on a long-distance travel. For Thanksgiving, there is an increase of 54% when it comes to travellers while the Christmas/New Year’s holiday sees an increase of 23%. Obviously, the statistics show that people go travelling during this time. If you want to do that same or you used to do it in the past and would like to keep up with the tradition, you need to budget for it. Now it is not easy to avoid spending if you have to travel. However, you can plan it ahead so your expenses when you do travel will be less. You can get great discounts this way. Not only that, you can also choose to pay for your travel expenses ahead of time. Instead of saving up for it and buying when you are about to leave, you can choose to book things ahead and use the budget of earlier months to pay for that expense. That way, your holiday budget do not have to deal with the whole burden of your travel cost. Of course, you also have the option to get free board and lodging by staying with someone that you know. Or you can opt to travel to a nearby place so your expense will not be too great. If relaxation is all that you are after, then there are ways to relax right at the comforts of your own home. Look up staycation options in your area and you should be able to feel like you are on a vacation even if you are so close to home.
How to make the holidays memorable without spending a lot
The thing is, spending for the holidays is not really necessary to make it memorable and fun. If you think about it, we love this season because we get to spend time with each other. Take note of that - spend time and not money. That should be your focus. As mentioned, when you spend time with the people you love, you are giving them a portion of your life that you can never take back. That moment will forever be frozen with them. The memories you will share together of that moment will be shared by everyone involved for the rest of your lives. This way of thinking will help you implement a frugal holidayso you can stay out of too much holiday spending. Concentrate on the experience and not the material things that you can buy. Here are a couple of tips that you can use to make your holidays fun and memorable without it being too expensive.
- Come up with projects to accomplish by Christmas. This will help increase the hype that you will feel for the season - even if you know that you cannot spend a lot on it. Think about something that is challenging and interesting to do. You can create a batch of Christmas cards for family and friends who live far away. You can decorate the house. There are so many things that the whole family can do together.
- Movie marathon for the whole family. Another thing that you can do to spend more time with your family is to schedule a weekly movie marathon. You can pick film series like Harry Potter, or The Lord of the Rings. You can also ask every member of the family to choose a movie that they would like to watch. Just prepare enough popcorn and you should be all set for the movie marathon.
- DIY gifts. Instead of spending for the holidays on various gifts, you may want to do them yourself. This can be another project for the whole family. You can be a great gift giver without breaking the bank. If the recipient finds out that the gift given to them involved the combined efforts of the whole family, it would make it even more special.
- Make your meals together. Preparing your meals together should be a fun activity for everyone - even the kids. Find something for every member to do. It will make the meal as special as it can be.
- Volunteer to help make someone else’s holiday special. This is one of the best things that you can do with your family. It will give the holidays a whole new meaning. You do not have to spend money on this if you do not have it. Your time and effort is much more valuable than money. You can choose to volunteer at a retirement home to make the residents happy. You can go to the hospital too. There are so many things that you can do to make people happy during this season.
Spending for the holidays is not necessary to be happy. You just have to understand the true meaning of the season - and that is spreading love, happiness, and compassion. Take note that a mountain of gifts will never compare to the joy of your presence. And when you realize that you did not accumulate debt during the holidays, the feeling of joy will extend until the next year. After all, you don't have to resort to debt relief programs to help solve the holiday debt.