Budgeting for the holidays

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When the festive spirit hits, it can be hard to stick to your budget. While it’s nice to have a little something to open on Christmas morning, it’s also nice to make sure the only time you’re seeing red is when you’re looking at festive wrapping paper, not your January bank statement. With that in mind, maybe this is the year you decide to start a new tradition—one that’s a little easier on your budget but still keeps the spirit of the season. We’ve gathered a few ideas to get you started.

Set a limit.

Have an honest conversation with your loved ones you typically exchange gifts with and set a spending limit. By choosing a set limit, it forces you to be more creative in your shopping. It also means you’ll know what you need to budget for ahead of time.

Old is new.

From Kijiji to Bunz, your local thrift shop to highly curated vintage boutiques, something doesn’t always need to be new to be thoughtful. Second-hand items are not only generally more affordable, but they’re also a little easier on the environment.

Secret-Santa: Not just for the office.

This can work especially well when you have a big family—buying gifts for all your siblings, and their kids, and your great-aunt Martha can add up fast. Holding a family-wide secret-Santa can be a way to still keep up the excitement while also holding on to your bottom line.

The gift of time.

You know the old saying “time is money”? Why not put that into practice this year by offering services instead of tangible things. Who wouldn’t take you up on the thoughtful offer of free housecleaning, or babysitting, or whatever other talent you have to offer. Just be sure to follow through on it.

From the heart.

With the rise of DIY projects (and the resources to help make them happen) why not use that as inspiration for your holiday giving this year? Something that’s made from the heart carries a personal touch that you simply won’t find on the shelves of any store. Plus, it’s often a little easier on your wallet to make something than it is to buy it. And that means, not only will you win at Christmas, but your budget will thank you too.