The Holidays: Celebrating On A Budget

In recent years households, individuals, and offices alike have been making  serious budget cuts. Around the holidays this can be especially difficult, what with all of the gift giving and celebrating to be done! But there’s nothing like a financial crunch to get the creative juices flowing.

The other day a customer told me that this year, rather than exchanging gifts her immediate family is going on vacation together and that in the end, the travel expenses end up being less than what they usually spend on presents. I love this idea – the emphasis on togetherness over material goods warms my heart.

Offices have been cutting back on non-essentials for a while now. Holiday parties may not be what they once were, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate with your colleagues. If a company sponsored party is out of the question, consider asking your boss if they will allow an extended lunch for everyone one day this month and make it a potluck. Don’t forget to delegate effectively though – if you end up with 7 bowls of guacamole, the brownie lovers are going to get cranky!

In an effort to reduce stress/gluttony, my family and friends have started doing Secret Santa style gift giving instead of buying gifts for the whole group. We put a dollar limit on the gifts and encourage things that are handmade. My Secret Santa is in for a treat this year (I hope he/she likes macaroni art!!!) Okay…I kid, but pretty much everybody has a special talent they can utilize for a memorable gift. It doesn’t have to be cookie baking or portraiture – I’ve seen people offer to re-finish and old piece of furniture or learn how to make homemade liqueur in a friend’s favorite flavor.

Think outside the box! Chances are good that your dad doesn’t need another tie and your sister doesn’t need a 17th pair of slippers anyway. And being budget conscious doesn’t have to make you a Scrooge! Gifts from the heart are always the best.

How do you keep from going broke during the Holiday Season?

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