Keep Your Sanity And Your Money This Holiday Season
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, they all seem to run together.
This time of year you are not only catching up with friends, but catching up on bills.
Maybe your car insurance bill is due, or your annual property tax.
We all still have to live life, even during this strenuous time.
You may be expecting a large party of friends over for a game of football.
Or maybe you are traveling cross country to see family.
Whatever your Holiday plans are, you can make them brighter and cheaper than ever before.
The average person spends around $1000 every year for Christmas for their families.
The average Thanksgiving dinner is around $100, and that’s not counting decorations or alcohol.
Most families gather for this time of year, but some just can’t afford to make the trip.
Maybe you are a workaholic, or maybe your family has some sort of unforeseen medical bills coming up.
Whatever the reason for you trying to buckle down and stay home, it’s ok!
There is a way to keep your sanity and your money this holiday season.
Some statistics about this time of year…
Between Halloween and New Years, the consuming in America is outrageous!
We will spend as a whole over 670 billion dollars on gifts, decorations, trees, and everything else according to the National Retail Federation.
That has risen almost .04% from last year. Now, this is good for our economy, don’t get me wrong.
But how can we save more this Holiday so that we are better off come the new year?
I have found quite a few ways to do this so listen up!
Car Deals During The Holiday
You might be thinking that the last thing you need to do is purchase a car during this time of year.
But the deals and savings are great right now!
If there is any good time to purchase a car, it is the month of December. Every dealership wants to get rid of this years models.
And if they can’t they will offer you a cheap lease deal instead.
You could purchase a 2017 car for much less at the end of the year than when they first come out.
And that means money in your pocket as well as more value in your car.
A 2017 Hyundai Elantra could be yours for a 3 year lease deal for only $500 down and $250 per month.
That is a brand new car! With the plastic still on the seats.
Now, of course this does depend on credit, income, and all of those things.
But if you are looking for a new car for work to impress the boss, or maybe a minivan for the family, explore your options during the Holiday sales.
Car Insurance can be purchased cheaply in some cases as well. If you choose to purchase annual car insurance at the same time as your new car, you could save.
Bundle this with your homeowners insurance and save even more
Try talking your family into a gift exchange this year. We do consume far too much over the Holiday season.
Think of those family members who can’t quite afford to keep up.
When you are in your twenties for example, you can’t afford to spend $100 on each relative like grandma and grandpa can.
So make thing fair and pull a name from a hat!
A great way to do this is to have a name pulling party. Invite over those family members who can attend.
Drink a little champaign and talk about the Holidays. Maybe you will have a tree-lighting ceremony at your home.
This way people can get excited about who they chose but still have to keep it a secret.
You can also create an online gift exchange.
There is a great APP called Elfster that will keep your secret Santa exchange special.
Email this to everyone and create a log in. You can even send messages throughout the Holiday’s in this APP.
Watch your family get excited about their incredible gifts while also saving money.
Buy Seasonal Food
During the fall and winter, there are some amazing vegetables and legumes available to eat.
Buying local and buying seasonal can actually save you money.
Just go to your local grocery store or farmers market.
Beets, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli and some types of squash will be perfect for winter dishes.
Purchase a quality pork or beef and use your crock pot this winter.
Barley is an amazing source of fiber.
Add your best winter veggies on top of freshly cooked butter barley for a healthy and yummy dinner.
You won’t be eating a lot of fruit this winter, expect maybe mandarins and persimmons.
But it is always healthiest to eat seasonal foods because you know they are being naturally grown.
For example Spaghetti Squash is a nice vegetable that you can make the most delicious meals out of.
Here is one meal that everyone will love:
Spaghetti Squash Pasta
- Take one whole spaghetti squash and heat it up in the oven so that it softens and is easier to cut. Usually about 15 mins on 350 degrees will do the trick!
- Cut both ends of the squash off. You want the squash to be cut horizontally and not vertically.
- Then cut the squash in half. You will end up with two round “tire-shaped” squash pieces.
- Pull out all of the seeds from the center.
- Lightly glaze both sizes of your pieces with butter or oil. Grape Seed oil is a good oil to use.
- Sprinkle a liberal amount of salt on both sides of your squash.
- Put back into the 350 degree oven and let bake for 20 minutes on each side. You should be able to easily cut into the squash when they are ready.
- While your squash is cooking, take 1 pound of ground beef and cook in a skillet.
- When the meat is almost cooked through, add your favorite marinara of vodka sauce. Whatever is your families preference will do. You can also add freshly diced tomatoes and basil for extra flavor.
- Let this simmer on low.
- When your squash is done (after abut 40 minutes) take it out and let it cool for at least ten minutes.
- You will then be able to peel out the inside of the squash and guess what? It looks and feels just like spaghetti! This squash has long strands of noodle like fibers.
- Place all of this inside a bowl and add your meat and sauce mixture. Stir just like real spaghetti!
Dig in! This is a cheap meal for the winter time. You can cook this whole dinner for under $15! And you may even have some left over!
Keep Your Utilities Low
One way to budget for the holidays is to make sure your house stays at a consistent temperature.
But it will not cover some of the maintenance you will need to do on your home to keep it well insulated for winter.
There are many simple tasks you can do to ensure savings this winter.
Some local utility companies can even help you with your projects.
Your house is your home, so keep it comfortable without breaking the bank.
Here area list of things to do to your home, so that your utility bills stay low:
- Have your water heater insulated and checked that it is working properly. One of the main costs of electricity is heating water
- Wash all of your clothes on cold. Don’t worry, they will still get cleaned, but you will save on heating up the water.
- Clean out gutters and make sure they are working properly.
- Disconnect all hoses and sources of water that you will not be using in the winter months.
- Check the weather stripping on your doors. If you see that there are gaps, fill them.
- Check your insulation. This means under your roof and in your attic. You may have holes, rips and animals may have gotten to them.
- Wrap and insulate any pipes you have. This helps them from freezing.
- Keep the flue to your fireplace closed. Before using your fireplace in the winter months, clean it thoroughly.
- Make sure that your heating system is working properly. You can have it inspected by a technician.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room! I know it is darker in the winter, but try to adjust. You don’t need every light in the house on!
- Turn off your heater when you leave or keep it set to low. By low I mean 63 degrees…
10 Ways You Can Save In The Colder Months
- Learn to love your socks and sweaters. Wrap up in the colder months and don’t be afraid to layer. Instead of upping the heater temperature, try putting on another layer.
- Change your sheets to flannel and add another blanket to your bed. You can also get a heated blanket under your covers for extra heat. This will reduce you having to use your heater at night.
- If there are sunny days during the winter, open up the house and raise up the blinds. Natural sunlight will heat up your space and clean out bacteria.
- Cook, cook, cook. Use your oven to cook and when you are done, leave the oven open for extra heat.
- Make warm dishes and eat hot food. Drink hot tea or cocoa. Even heating up your water and adding lemon will soothe you and make you warm all over.
- Try getting yourself a programmable thermostat. You can purchase one for as little as $50. Leaving this programmed will save you on your heating bill.
- Keep your doors and windows closed. Don’t let your warm air escape your house. Try using thick blinds or curtains to keep out even more cold air. Make sure that all of your windows are double paned. This will not only add value to your house but will significantly lower your utility bills.
- Light candles instead of turning on all of the lights! There is nothing like a nice smelling vanilla or pumpkin spice candles in the winter.
Stay Home This Winter
We all want to be with family over the holidays, but if you are having some financial issues, or even if you want to add to your savings, then just stay home.
Millions of people commute and travel over the winter months in order to see family and friends.
Have a staycation and make this thanksgiving and Christmas intimate with just your immediate family.
Try making your home a haven for love, warmth and comfort this winter.
Gas expenses can get high in fall and winter just from the amount of traveling Americans do.
So staying home will cut on this cost as well as maintenance on your cars.
Try staying home to cook together instead of eating out.
You can make a fun family experience out of a regular winter night. Pizza is a fun baking idea for the kids.
Try teaching everyone in the house how to make soup.
You can even name the soup after your family and make it a family tradition to make this together.
You can make soup very cheaply!
Hack Your Way Through Winter
There is more than one way to skin a cat, as they say.
Wintertime and the holidays have a certain “status quo” with the amount of parties to attend and decorations to adorn your house.
- Try doing it differently. Choose a party to go to, but instead of buying your hosts a $100 bottle of champaign, get a funny gag gift from the thrift store. Find a cute house gift from an antique store.
- Instead of paying an arm and a leg for Christmas cards this season, try sending sweet Christmas email. Send a well written letter from your whole family and attach as many pictures as you want!
- Tell your family to make Christmas wish list that is only three items long. Giving a limit to presents doesn’t take away from the spirit of the holidays but makes those gifts even that much more special.
- Attend free church events for the Christmas and thanksgiving season. Even if you aren’t apart of a church, many churches have fun community events you can join in on at no charge.
- Volunteer this holiday season with your family. This can be a way to not spend money, and also give back to your community. You can contact any homeless shelter or church to find ways of feeding the needy when the colder months roll in.
- Go caroling with friends and family. This is a cheap way to have fun with your loved ones and bring joy to others. Organize a group, print off a few carols and make your way through the neighborhood.
Remember this holiday season to enjoy what matters most, the people in your lives.
Cheap doesn’t have to mean boring.
Giving doesn’t have to be expensive.
Think outside the box, and have one of your best Holiday season yet!