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10 Tips to Keep Inflation from Squashing Your Holiday Spirit

Updated: 10 hours ago

Rising energy costs and insane inflation rates have many families struggling and stressing about so many things right now. What is foremost in many people’s minds, as fall starts to edge into winter, is the upcoming holiday season. When you’re already struggling to keep the gas tank filled, the heat on, and groceries in the fridge; the mere thought of fancy meals and shopping for holiday gifts can fill you with anxiety. Fear not though; it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips to help you budget and plan for an enjoyable and stress-free holiday season. Reevaluate Your Budget The first thing to do is reevaluate your budget. Look for any area where you can reduce your monthly cost. Sign up for budget payments through your utility companies. Consider a streaming device such as Roku or FireStick to provide you with all the holiday movies you can watch with no monthly bill as they’re a one-time investment that is only a fraction of the cost of your monthly cable bill. Do you really need the extra cell phone lines, or do you truly need to have both a cell phone and a landline? Question the necessity of everything and cut out anything that is not essential. Get the kids involved and turn it into a math and home economics lesson. Added bonus- they’ll be much less likely to complain about or resist any changes that affect them (like giving up Netflix) if they were involved in the process in some way. Look For Coupons and Shop Sale Flyers Check out the websites and apps of the stores you frequent the most for digital coupons and watch sale flyers for sales on holiday staples. You can often get the best deals by shopping at more than one store, picking up only the best deals from each one. Use apps like iBotta and Honey to get cash back on your purchases and save even more. Keep Meals Simple Meals don’t have to be elaborate or fancy to be special. Choose your family’s absolute favorite main dishes as the highlight of your meal and fill in the rest with cheap and simple but tasty sides like mashed potatoes and buttered corn. Don’t go broke trying to make every dish you serve five course gourmet. Go Potluck If you’re attending or hosting a large gathering, plan it potluck style. Create a menu and allow each family to choose one or two things to make and bring. This way everyone shares the cost of the meal which makes the holiday more affordable for everyone. It’s much more budget-friendly to make one large dish than to cook an entire holiday meal. No Turkey Or Ham Required There isn’t a rule that you have to have an expensive turkey or ham for the holidays. If there is a more economical cut of meat that your family loves, make that. For example, my family absolutely loves meatloaf. I could grab a couple of pounds of cheap ground beef, extend it with cheap fillers like breadcrumbs or ground oats, and have a meal that my family would rave about for a fraction of the cost of a large turkey or ham dinner. 

Take Advantage Of Local Resources Fire departments, hospitals, and other local organizations often offer free holiday meals for those in the community that need them, and food pantries sometimes offer special holiday food boxes. Look for Angel Tree programs that help families with holiday gifts for children. The volunteers and donors at the organizations offering these services are doing so because they genuinely want to help others who are struggling. Chances are they’ve been there themselves. They want to bless you and your family so that you can enjoy the holiday together. Don’t Go Broke Decorating Festive decorations can make even the simplest celebration feel grand, but don’t go broke decorating. Check out Pinterest for ideas and head out hiking with the kids. Collect things like evergreen branches, fall leaves, pine cones, and acorns and bring them home to turn them into beautiful holiday decorations. As an added bonus you’re getting in some nature study, PE, and art time while preparing for the holidays.

Handicrafts Make Cherished Gifts If you’re familiar with the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling you’ll also be familiar with handicrafts. Charlotte advocated for learning handicrafts because they not only provided the student with useful skills but also provided them with a means to make an income. Your children could sell them to make extra spending money of their own for the holidays, but that’s not the only upside to handicrafts. Hand-crafted items made by your children make wonderful gifts that will be cherished by family and friends. Find Great Holiday Items and Gifts At Thrift Stores Brand-new items like toys and decorations are often donated to thrift stores around the holidays and sold for a fraction of the cost, but keep in mind that gifts don’t always have to be brand new. Consider shopping thrift stores for gently used and vintage items, or things that you can upcycle or repurpose into beautiful and useful gifts. Rethink And Prioritize Gift Lists If there’s ever been a time to rethink and prioritize your gift list, it’s now. Make sure gifts are useful and not just something that will be played with for a few days and forgotten. A good tradition to adopt to help you scale back on holiday spending is to follow the rule of something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. Another idea is to have everyone draw names and exchange gifts rather than purchase a huge pile of presents for each person. Don’t feel like you have to buy for everyone that gives you a gift or for everyone that you’ve bought gifts for in the past. 

Make It Personal This year for my family, each person is getting only ONE gift. I worked really hard to think through what I thought would be the most meaningful item for each person and I hope it will make it more special. We also skipped stockings this year & used the mantle to decorate only with my most precious traditional Christmas decor. That stocking stuffer expense = totally eliminated.

The most important thing to remember when planning for the holidays is that they don’t need to be extravagant to be filled with joy and create lifelong memories. They need only to be filled with love.



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