Holidays give us a break from the daily grind and allow us to have some fun with friends and family. It can bring us joy and excitement as we anticipate the big day. But that joy and excitement can turn into horror and anxiety when we open up our credit card statement the following month! The last thing we should do is ruin the great memories we created by being overwhelmed financially because we spent too much money.
Here are three ways to have memorable experiences during any holiday without blowing your budget:
Have the Holidays at Home
Dining out, going to the movies or going to a special event can be a real treat but it can hit your wallet hard—especially if you have kids. Celebrating at home can save you hundreds or more a year. You can make it special by cooking a delicious meal, lighting some candles and playing festive music. After dinner, put on a seasonal movie and bring out the dessert. Follow this up with board games, which can often be found at thrift stores and garage sales. If you’re having guests over, try your local dollar store for decorations and consider hosting a potluck.
Dine on a Different Day
Who says you have to celebrate the holiday only the day of? Consider going out to dinner to celebrate holidays like Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day the day after. Many restaurants charge a lot for dinners the day of. If you wait just one day, you’ll save.
My boyfriend in college and I did this. We didn’t have enough money to pay the $89 for a special Valentine’s Day dinner at our local favorite restaurant so we decided to celebrate on February 15 instead. We still had a romantic evening but ended up saving $60.
You can save on decorations and presents if you wait as well. Celebrate Christmas a few days after when you can buy a steep discount. The same goes for seasonal food such as buying pumpkin pie the day after Thanksgiving and fireworks after July 4.
It may not seem as fun if you wait but the what makes the holidays so special is spending quality time with our loved ones. It doesn’t matter about the exact date—as long as you’re together and you have fun.
Get It Going with Groupon
Don’t forget to check out discount sites like Groupon and Living Social, which can have tickets to seasonal events for up to 80% off. My friends recently snagged tickets for 20% off to a local Christmas light show. Of course, they also offer discounts for local dining should you still want to eat out on a holiday. Also, if you have a senior in your group, don’t forget to ask for a senior discount.
Celebrating is a balance of sticking within your budget and making it a memorable experience. Don’t get the post-holiday blues by overspending. With a little effort and creativity, you can have fun but not be scared like it’s Halloween when you get your credit card statement:)