Ethan Ewing, president of Bills.com, reminds us that we can keep our Christmas affordable – and our stress and anxiety low – with these cost-saving strategies for holiday festivities.
“A lack of green in the green-and-red season does not have to mean a lack of fun,” says Ewing. Here’s how to lower costs for your holiday festivities.
9 Ways to Keep Your Christmas Affordable
1. Lower the highbrow. Instead of the city ballet’s production of the Nutcracker, keep your Christmas affordable by seeking out a school or community presentation. Theater productions of “A Christmas Carol” can set you back $50 a ticket, a youth or other local production might run just 10% of that cost.
2. Revise the menu. Lower your costs for holiday festivities by creating new traditions. For instance, focus your attention on one big meal and then enjoy different, more casual fare for other meals. Rent movies instead of going out, and eat a smaller breakfast at home before the big Christmas dinner.
3. Have New Year’s at home. Invite friends over for a grown-up slumber party to save on pricey hotel fees, parties, dances or dinners (this is a great way for single people to lower costs for holiday festivities!). Borrow inflatable mattresses, bring your comfiest PJs, rent movies that make you laugh, cry, or take you back to high school. Ask everyone to bring a favorite hors d’oeuvre and liquor, and order pizza or fire up the barbecue.
4. Look for city specials. Many cities and towns now have free activities in the city center on New Year’s Eve. Check local news for updates on events in your area. Make sure to carpool to these events and bring your own food and drink from home – stay away from expensive vendors.
5. Do for others. To keep your Christmas affordable, keep busy instead of wasting time grumbling about what you’re missing. Help those less fortunate by assembling food baskets, providing modest gifts to a needy family or volunteering for a worthy organization.
6. Get outside. In areas with snow, pick up a sled at a discount store or have a snowball fight and get some exercise out in the snow! If you live in a warmer-weather climate, try a hike, swim or trip to the playground with kids. To lower your costs for the holiday festivities, enjoy the timeless tradition of cookies and hot cocoa.
7. Have a clothes swap. All that time off over the holidays is a perfect time for you (or a teenage child) to clean out your closets. To keep your Christmas affordable, have some seasonal beverages on hand, and shop for new looks from each other’s discards.
8. Spend time with friends and family. To lower your costs for the holiday festivities, host a potluck dinner at home, have a holiday open house or just invite a friend over for a cup of coffee or tea.
“The holiday season is about warm hearts and new hope,” says Ewing of Bills.com. “Remembering those you care about will help start the next year on the right foot – at any budget.”