Holiday Spending on a Budget
When you are living on a low fixed income, the holidays can feel overwhelming. If you have lots of family and friends, you may feel like you need to spoil them. After all, giving is a very satisfying and humbling feeling. But, if your budget is tight, the holidays can be a stressful time with regards to finances. It doesn’t have to be – Instead, consider a few alternative ideas to help reduce expensive holiday spending and any stress that may come with it.
Here are a few gift ideas from LILA that can save you money and mean a lot:
Write a personal letter: Instead of purchasing expensive Hallmark cards, write a letter or create your own. Share stories and memories that they can cherish and want to keep. You can type up the letters or handwrite them for a more personal touch. Give them a fancy touch by tying them with a ribbon and dried flowers.
Family photos: A fun way to celebrate the holidays is to get a family photo. Gather as many generations as possible at head to a local photographer for a fun day of mingling and smiling. You can help reduce the cost by asking family members to help chip in for the package.
Family vacation: This may not sound cheaper than buying lots of gifts for everyone, but it can be. If you save up a little money for several months and ask other family members to chip in, you could spend a week in a nice cabin or other destination. You’ll create memories that will last forever without going broke.
Homemade treats: If you simply can’t resist helping out your mailman or neighbours this holiday season, consider heading to the kitchen instead of the store. Bake a big batch of cookies or pies to deliver. While this does take more time, it costs less and means more.
Service project: There is most always someone who is less fortunate than your family. A great way to share the holidays with someone is through service. If leaving the home is difficult or impossible, consider writing letters, sewing a blanket, crocheting or making phone calls to spread Christmas cheer. If you are comfortable getting out and about consider taking home-bound individuals a meal, sitting with a widow for a few hours to talk or visiting a local hospital.
Family Party: While this may sound extreme, you don’t have to exchange presents to have a good Christmas. Instead of handing out gifts, focus on spending time together as a family, talking, playing games and creating memories. You could host a family party, where everyone brings a food and/or craft to do together and enjoy the day laughing, eating and working together.
The holiday season is full of joy, whether it’s the coloured lights, cheerful music or delicious treats, there is much to be celebrated. Living on a fixed income can make celebrating the holidays feel a little more stressful, but with a few creative solutions you can still enjoy the holiday season without spending a lot of money!