Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrate the Holidays on a Budget

It’s that time of year for gift giving and party throwing again. But, your generosity and thoughtfulness need not break the bank this year. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can have a festive holiday season – on a budget.

Homemade holiday gifts

Why should you utilize money saving ideas at the holidays?

Aside from the fact that spending may create stress and buyers’ remorse in so many individuals by January 1, celebrating on a budget can be beneficial in a number of ways. For example:

  • Giving frugal Christmas gifts encourages creativity.
  • Utilizing money saving ideas demonstrate fiscal responsibility to children.
  • Homemade holiday gifts remind us of the real reason for the season – spending time with family and friends; enjoying good food, music and conversation; and creating wonderful memories for years to come.

How can you celebrate the holidays on a budget?

There are a number of ways you can utilize money saving ideas this holiday season.

1. Food:  The food you’ll serve guests at your holiday parties doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. In fact, most party guests claims they enjoy munching on finger foods throughout the evening over a formal sit-down dinner. A few things to keep in mind:
  • Keep your food choices simple, and be sure to include some healthy options, too.
  • Dress up the platters or trays with inexpensive decorative plates, trays and plastic wrap for a bit of festive fun.
  • Food items can serve a dual purpose at the holidays. In addition to serving food to your guests at parties, food items make great gifts, too. Check out this recipe for delicious chocolate bark:
2. Decorations:  Items from nature, such as tree and evergreen branches, acorns and holly make great additions to your home decor during the holiday season. Create a classic, inexpensive statement for your front porch by adorning an old sled with ice skates, mittens and holly branches for an inexpensive festive look.

3. Gifts:  Handmade gifts make thoughtful presents from your heart. A framed photograph of a special pet, a childhood memory or a recent experience will remind the recipient of your thoughtfulness throughout the year. Other handmade gifts ideas include: art work, food gifts and services such as baby/pet sitting services, car detailing or another specialty of yours.

Knit scarf as holiday gift

Additional homemade holiday gift ideas:

  • Love to knit? Whip up an assortment of scarves throughout the year in a variety of styles and colors. Give a scarf to each person on your gift list, making that your signature gift of the year.
  • Have a great recipe for gourmet popcorn? Make a batch, divide it into decorative tins and you’ve got a treat anyone on your list will enjoy receiving.
  • Does hot chocolate signify the holidays for you? Buy an assortment of mugs, fill them with hot cocoa packets and marshmallows and you have a simple homemade Christmas gift for everyone on your list. They’ll remember you throughout the year as they continue to use the mug.

The holidays are meant to be a fun, festive time of the year to spend with family and friends. By incorporating some ideas for frugal living, you can accomplish celebrating on a budget this year. Enjoy!

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

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