The holiday season is just around the corner, and we could not be more excited! While holidays do mean spending, you should do so carefully to not end up in debt!
Before you go all out and buy everyone expensive gifts, hear us out. To have fun during the holidays, you don’t have to spend a fortune; you just have to be smart.
We Are One! Incorporation, CA, brings you some mind-blowing tips to celebrate holidays on a budget. So, please take a look at them to stay on the right financial track!
Holiday Spending Tips
1. Create a Holiday Plan
All good things start with a plan. Start planning your holidays in late September. Find out whether you will be hosting a party or attending one. If you are hosting one, decide your guest list and menu.
Create a gift list, and decide whether or not you will be mailing gifts off. If you are used to large gatherings during the holiday, COVID-19 could impact the traditional friends and family gatherings, so having extra funds to mail gifts is recommended. Set a spending limit on each gift.
Decide a theme for decorations or reuse decorations from the previous year. Create a timeline for October to December and write down your goals for each week. Dedicate a notebook to holiday planning and plan away!
2. Make a Budget and Stick to It
It is recommended that everyone must be mindful of their spending habits, especially since many people are currently out of a job. You cannot afford to spend aimlessly. If you do not set a budget, you will end up spending everything, and you won’t even realize it till it’s all gone.
Make four categories: decorations, foods, gifts, and parties. From your total spending limit, assign a budget to each category and stay within the budget. Knowing your spending limit will prevent you from spending your extra savings, and you will be able to enjoy your holidays on a budget.
3. Create Your Own Decorations and Cards
You can save so much money if you take the DIY route! Get cheap art material from a local dollar store and make your holiday decorations! If you aren’t very artistic, do not worry! We will be sharing some creative links later in this article for easy DIY decorations.
You can also save money (and trees) by sending e-cards to your loved ones. Websites like Punchbowl allow you to send free e-cards. Visit their website and browse through their unlimited templates for all occasions.
4. Use Military Shopping Discounts
In honor of their service, many stores and brands offer discounts, especially over the holidays, to military service members, veterans, and their families. Here is a list to help you:
- Me is a resource that offers discounts to military service members when they show military identification and shop for specific brands. Visit their website and check out the list of brands that offer military discounts. These include some famous brands like Adidas, Under Armour, Ray-Ban, Reebok, Puma, Dell, and Lenovo.
- The Exchange is another resource popular in the military community. You can purchase clothes, electronics, and many other items free of tax. Their prices match those of the local competitors in your area, so you can expect to get goods and stunningly low Walmart and Target-like prices!
- Rakuten is a popular source that allows cashback from over 2,500 stores when you shop from their website. The more you shop, the more cash you will get. You will get paid via a check after every three months!
Resources in Southern California that Provide Help!
1. We Are One! Incorporation, CA
We Are One! Incorporation, CA, offers assistance to military families residing in Southern California. We collect monetary funds, clothing donations, and non-perishable items to distribute them amongst military families.
2. Food Banks and Thrift Stores
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank assists military service members, veterans, and their families. The Bank has been providing to the U.S Vets and other similar military organizations since 2016 to help them thrive.
Many military communities have their own thrift shops like the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Thrift Shop in San Diego, California. Here you can find clothing pieces, accessories, camping gear, decorations, and other exciting stuff for low prices!
3. Military Family Centers
Organizations like the National Military Family Association, The Salvation Army, and USAREC – Southern California Battalion Military and Family Support Center are working hard to provide financial assistance to America’s heroes. Their programs include emergency food provision, stable housing service, rental assistance, and transportation facilities.
Creative Holiday Ideas to Save Some $$$!
- Secret Santa – Instead of buying gifts for each of your family members and them buying for you, you can save some money and play Secret Santa. Write the names of all your family members on pieces of paper and put them in a bowl. Let each family member pick out a name. You will only have to buy the gift for the person whose name you get, and there will be an added suspense of who will be buying for whom!
- Grocery Bag Wrapping Paper – Instead of throwing away your brown paper grocery bags, cut them up and make straight sheets. Use these sheets to wrap gifts. Add bows or ribbons on top. They look elegant and will save money!
- DIY Christmas Stockings – Tie-and-Dye your old white socks and make beautiful Christmas stockings! Learn how to do that by clicking here.
We Are One! Incorporation believes holidays don’t have to be expensive. If you think out of the box and are creative, you can enjoy holidays on a budget and have fun without feeling guilty later!
However, in all your happiness and joy, don’t forget that the COVID-19 pandemic is still around, and it is essential that you follow the guidelines given by the CDC. Wear a mask, avoid crowded gatherings, use a sanitizer, disinfect your house, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe while you have fun!