Our dollars are buying less, but we still want to create great family memories for the holidays. Here are some ideas for creating special times without running up credit card bills (also with higher rates than last year).
- When hosting large family gatherings, ask guests to contribute sides and desserts.
- Speaking of side dishes, are 20 really necessary? Pick the top three favorites and call it good.
- Hosting a neighborhood open house? Use crockpots (borrow if you need to) for filling, lower cost, stay-good-for-hours foods. Stew meat is a lot less expensive than skirt steak and tastes great after a few hours of low-and-slow cooking.
- Skip the nuts. No, not your relatives. Rather than holiday treat giveaways that involve high-priced nuts, look for lower cost easy-to-make-in-bulk ideas. Who would say no to Rice Krispy treats?
- Can anyone really tell the difference between store brands and name brands? Not me, and the store brands can sometimes be 1/3 less money.
- Cut down on who receives gifts. A favorite is doing a drawing in November for one person to give one other person a gift. Not 10 people giving 10 other people a gift. Grandparents don’t count. Everyone gives a gift to the grandparents.
- Give the gift of time and experiences, not stuff. Yes, experiences can cost money (movie tickets and popcorn aren’t free), but they don’t clutter up the house/landfill/Goodwill. And, they can be free. Hint, if one of my kids gave me a game night once a month I’d be thrilled.
- Keep a list. I say this every year, but keeping a list of who you are buying for, what you bought, and how much it cost is a holiday lifesaver. Not only do you avoid having 5 gifts for one niece and nothing for your nephew, but you remember what you bought back in July with the intention of giving at the holidays.
Hey, I don’t want to be a grinch, but times are tight. However, with some planning, you can always have a fun holiday season with friends and family.