Saving tips for a snowy day

December 12, 2023 | Anne Purcell

Winter is an expensive season, especially with the holidays and gift-giving, but it doesn’t have to be. If your budget is tight this season, you can still have an exciting winter season without going outside of a budget you are comfortable with.

Here are five tips for approaching the winter season without overspending, so you can leave extra room in your budget to spend on a snowy day.

Create a gift budget and stick to it

During the holiday season, you may find yourself shopping more often due to holidays and the expectation of buying gifts for family and friends. If this is part of your tradition, create a plan with a thought-out budget.

Before hitting the stores, list all the people you need to buy gifts for and how much you can spend on each person. Having this decided early can help you make choices on gifts that stay within the budget you have set for yourself.

Start gift shopping early

Going shopping early can also help you avoid unintentionally spending more money. When you go shopping last minute, you are more likely to spend more simply because you have less time to decide on gifts and are more likely to pick whatever is available, no matter the cost. Starting your shopping early means you can compare product prices from different stores and look for a sale for a specific gift you may be looking for. Furthermore, if you save your online shopping until the last minute, you may have to pay extra shipping costs to expedite your gifts.

Have a Secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange

If you have a big family or like to exchange gifts with friends, switching up tradition and doing a Secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange for your holiday can help save you money. With these types of gift-giving, you are only responsible for purchasing one gift, which can significantly help with the financial stress holiday gift-giving can bring.

Before the party, set some boundaries for the game of your choice. If you are doing a Secret Santa, set a budget before the party so that everyone knows how much they should spend. Setting a price range is also a good idea for a white elephant, but you could also set a theme for the gift-giving, such as kitchen items, books, etc. to mix it up.

Have a potluck party

The holidays are full of parties, and if you love to host, the price of throwing the party can get expensive, especially with the current cost of food and drinks.

Opt for a potluck-type party instead of planning an entire party and providing all the food and drinks. Ask everyone if they can contribute to the meal. For example, one person brings a salad, another brings side dish, etc. Create a spreadsheet and have everyone make a note of what they will bring to avoid duplicating dishes. Hosting like this will help you save not only money but also time. Plus, it is fun to see and taste everyone’s favorite and best holiday dishes!

Enjoy some free (or nearly free) festive activities

Depending on where you live, the winter months can bring many days indoors or wanting to do activities that cost money. Just because you’re trying to have a budget-friendly winter doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors all the time. If you’re trying to save some money this year, opt for more free activities. Many towns have free activities like tree-lighting festivals or concerts. If you look up your town online, most likely, you will find a schedule with these types of activities listed.

Other fun winter activities that are low cost are things like sledding or even driving around looking at Christmas lights.

Read more holiday budget tips

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