How to Enjoy the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. . . but also the most expensive. Here are 5 simple tips that can help you stick to your budget and enjoy your holiday season.

Host Thanksgiving on a Smart Budget

Hosts can feel pressured to entertain their guests with the most lavish Thanksgiving meal. Truth is, you don’t need to break the bank to deliver.

Thanksgiving is a potluck-style holiday at heart, so when your friends and family offer to bring something, say yes! It’s also okay to pick and choose which sides will appear on your table. Simplify your menu!


Track All Your Spending

Whether you’re into spreadsheets, money apps, or opening a designated holiday account with your local bank, track every purchase you make. Your budget is useless unless you actually track where that money is going. Don’t spend more than you are able to.


Set up a “Secret Santa” Gift Exchange

This is a great option for any gathering size. You can use websites like to set up a gift exchange and invite friends and family to join. Each member who accepts your invitation will be assigned one person to buy a gift for.


Be Creative with Holiday Traditions

We can all agree that traditions are what make the holidays so special.  Yet, they can also be a huge financial burden. If your traditions include traveling, paying for a special attraction, or surprising your kids with extravagant gifts, you might find yourself going way over budget in the name of family.

Traditions don’t have to be expensive to be memorable. Here are some cheaper alternatives:

  • Touring neighborhood Christmas lights
  • Watching Christmas movies at home with hot chocolate
  • Caroling
  • Attending a high school production—like a play or choir performance
  • Sledding/building snowmen
  • Sugar cookie decorating
  • Building the perfect gingerbread house
  • Check out local deals on Groupon or LivingSocial


Know When to Stop

When you’ve finished your list and checked it twice, it’s time to stop shopping. No more stops at the mall to “see what they have.”

If you know your shopping itch won’t go away, try to spread out your shopping as much as you can. By planning purchases and stopping when you’re done, you can save yourself from shocking credit card bills.


The holidays should be full of fun and joy, but don’t break your bank getting there. Take care of your finances and plan smartly.


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