We are all learning a lesson about living on a tighter budget, but the holidays seem like endless weeks of doing nothing except spending money. Believe it or not, there is a way to squelch the flowing tide of money rolling out of your bank account this season. It requires getting everyone on board with the plans, so discuss your holiday plans with family ahead of time to ensure success.
- The holidays are a time for giving, but there is a limit to what you are able to do, even for great causes. Choose one area you’d like to make a difference in, and donate what you can to that cause.
- Reuse the decorations from last year. Look through the attic, cupboards and closets to find all the decorations, candles and other goodies you stashed, and make it work for this year.
- Make a gift budget for the whole family, and divide it up among each member of the household. Ask kids if they’d rather have one large gift or several small gifts for their share of the budget.
- Learn when to say no. We want to do it all, especially during the holidays, but this isn’t always possible. Realize there will be things you are unable to do like traveling to see the the Kazakhstan Democracy.
- Focus more on the world around you than yourself. As the Middle East recovers from riots and Japan recovers from devastating earthquakes, we have much to be thankful for.
There are many things you can do that cost no money at all. Visiting elderly people in a nursing home, volunteering at a soup kitchen or helping local charities distribute holiday meals and gifts are all activities the family can take part in while making a difference and sharing time together—without costing a dime.