Plenty of expenses go into making the season merry and bright — from decorations and presents left by “Santa,” to the travel costs to visit family and friends. But one of the most overlooked expenses
Plenty of expenses go into making the season merry and bright — from decorations and presents left by “Santa,” to the travel costs to visit family and friends. But one of the most overlooked expenses of the holiday is food.
Keeping your cupboards and fridge fully stocked all season long adds up. Before you know it, these seasonal goodies can take a huge bite out of your budget.
If you’re wondering how to celebrate the holidays without breaking your budget, keep scrolling. This holiday food guide offers pointers on how to manage your money and plan your shopping to cut costs.
1. Use Your Credit Card Like Cash
Most holiday shoppers flash plastic at the till, and there’s little wonder why. Every swipe of your card earns rewards you can redeem on the next shopping trip. It’s also the safer way to reserve grocery deliveries online.
None of these conveniences are worth it if you use your card on things you can’t afford, however. Credit can be a gateway to justifying extra goodies and seldomly used (but very expensive) holiday treats.
You can avoid this overindulgence if you pretend your credit card is cash. In other words, only put something in your cart if you know you can pay it off in full by the due date.
2. Be Aware of Holiday Debt
It’s not just credit cards that wrack up debt. Some holiday shoppers also rely on lines of credit, short-term personal loans, and even online cash advances to make merry.
If you’ve ever taken out a short-term personal loan or line of credit online, you know these are emergency reserves designed for unexpected expenses.
Many financial institutions will make this clear about their lines of credit, although it may not be one of the details of your online loan contract. Legit organizations specify an online line of credit is best reserved for urgent, unexpected expenses, like taking your dog to an emergency vet after he eats your Hannukah gelt.
3. Pare Down the Menu
Next to presents, good food and drinks are some of the most anticipated treats of the festivities. The pressure to put on a massive spread with all the fixings can convince you to ignore your budget and put it all on a line of credit.
In reality, most people don’t expect an unlimited buffet or a meal worthy of a Michelin star and its astronomical price. What really matters is the company you keep as you break bread this holiday. Build a menu around your basic must-haves or follow a pre-made budget-minded meal plan instead.
4. Shop with Your Phone
Your phone is the elf to your Santa when it comes to organizing shopping plans and clinching deals. The right app on your iPhone or Android can help you stretch your budget further.
- Coupons & Rebates: These shopping apps can shave off a few dollars at the till or earn cash back on certain grocery items. Popular apps like Rakuten and Honey are available as browser extensions, so you can reap their rewards when shopping on a desktop.
- Loyalty Rewards: Now’s the time to cash in any rewards you’ve collected over the year. If you don’t have one already, ask to start one — today’s shopping might help you afford tomorrow’s bills.
Eat Well on a Budget
Spending a fortune is easy when you’re doing it for the festivities, but there are ways to keep your grocery bills low. Remember these tips as you stock your pantry, cupboards, and fridge!