Holidays on a Budget

Though there aren’t many holidays you have to worry about during the summer, fall and winter hold countless occasions for you to deliver gifts, dinners, and other things that just might not be within your reach. Do you have a Big family? Is Christmas right around the corner? How are you going to buy gifts for all of your nieces and nephews, not to mention you have to worry about hosting thanksgiving parties and cooking all that food; even just bringing dishes to someone else’s thanksgivings bash can be quite stressful and trying. With Halloween and a birthday or two thrown into the mix this promises to be a busy and expensive time for you; and if you don’t have the money to work with it can prove to be incredibly difficult.

Don’t let all the holidays overwhelm you at once. They’re split up into three different months so that you can figure out how you’ll be able to afford to pay for everything. And, even though that is not technically the real reason why Christmas is in December and Halloween in October, but thinking about it like that makes things a whole lot easier. Start with your first holiday and work your way on.

Halloween

If it’s just going to be you and a bucket of candy corn on Halloween, then you don’t have much to worry about. This holiday really depends on what you see yourself doing on this spooky night. If you have a big family you’ll want to look into trick-or-treating, which is going to require a number of costumes for yourself and your significant other(s). Don’t wait until the night before to pick out your Halloween costumes. Costume stores drive up the prices the week before Halloween because they know that is when all the slackers in the world show up to buy their costumes. Look into ordering your costume online.

Usually you’ll be able to find group discounts and probably save on shipping fee, and if it’s just for yourself it will still probably come out cheaper than if you buy it at the store, but just to be sure make check out the prices first hand before you purchase your costume. Another cheap option involves good old fashioned needle and thread. Make your own costume. This allows infinitely more creativity and if you think of something early enough you might find you already have all the things you need to make it waiting for you in your closet.

If you want to throw a party, determine the kind of party you’re thinking. A sweet and humble costume party with all your friends and their kids, or a rocking college party where you’ll need to supply a few little extras? Either way you’ll need to supply certain necessities: haunting decorations, creepy food, and familiar Halloween games. To save, don’t shop at typical and convenient party stores. Make your own decorations or look online at places like http://etsy.com, where promising crafters create holiday decor for cheap.

Thanksgiving

If you’re planning on throwing a feast think twice before buying a giant, expensive turkey. How often do you end up actually eating the whole turkey, no matter how many people you have to dinner with you, and who even really likes turkey anyways? Substitute that expensive butterball with a chicken breast. Easier to cook, more moist, and much less expensive the chicken breast is the way to go. If you think one chicken breast won’t be enough then buy two or three; either way it will end up being cheaper. If you plan on going to someone else’s feast for thanksgiving its probably a good idea to bring some after supper spirits or dessert.

While normally you might think I’d suggest making something yourself, that is in fact not what I plan to suggest. Making things yourself can be time consuming and expensive and if you weren’t planning on having a feast to begin with, save all your energy and opt out to buying something to bring. Many stores, like Trader Joes, http://traderjoes.com, offer inexpensive and tasty treats and even great cheap wine. Invest in some Charles Shaw wine – or as I like to call it, “Two Buck Chuck”. It’s sold at most Trader Joe’s and is the only two dollar wine you’ll ever remember absolutely loving.

Christmas

Even though you shouldn’t worry yourself about Christmas early, you should start prepping nonetheless. Christmas can be an extremely stressful time so to cut down on your stress during the holidays you’ll want to avoid procrastinating and take care of many easy things that can be done months in advance. Look into buying Christmas presents during summer, spring and fall sales. Don’t wait until Black Friday to do all your shopping. If you see something a relative or a friend might like while shopping for back to school clothes, pick it up and put it in storage until Christmas. That is one less person you have to buy for come December and you probably saved a lot without even realizing it.

You can’t avoid baking on Christmas; like sleigh bells and snow it’s just something that happens. If you’re a die hard baker start making your cookie dough in August. While the sound of that may make you a little skeptical just think about it; cookie dough stays good frozen up to six months after its prepped. If you already have it ready to go in the freezer come December all you have to do is roll it out, cut it up, and toss it in the oven.

There may be no place like home for the holidays, but you won’t want to be home if its just a reminder of how much you’ve spent during such a hectic season. Plan in advance, do some research, and everything will go just smoothly.

If you’re like me, you love the holidays. Find out how to be more frugal with kmart coupons. Image credit.

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