The Christmas season is here and it is bringing with it a lot of hefty bills. You do not have to let the season get the better of you. Even a family of four can get by with spending just 200 dollars and all it takes is a little planning and discipline. Save your budget and teach your children about the value of being frugal.
When it comes to holiday spending, most of it is going to come in three areas. Those are food, decorations and , of course, presents. Let’s look at these areas one by one.
What is Christmas without a killer dinner meal. You can make a great meal though, without breaking the bank. In fact, you can do it for about $20, really. Here is what you need.
During the holidays, a turkey is what is called a loss leader. The grocery stores order them by the thousands and they cut prices on them seriously. The goal is to bring you into the store so that you buy other, pricier options. Expect to find prices around 59 cents a pound bringing the average 12 pound bird to about $7.
Nothing goes with a turkey like mashed potatoes. 2 pounds of potatoes will set you back about $2 and then all you need to add to it is $1 worth of butter and some salt and pepper to taste. People like to over complicate mashed potatoes but all you really need is boiled potatoes and butter. If they are too thick for your taste, add some milk to thin them out a bit. $3 for a great side dish with plenty to spare.
Frozen corn is about a dollar and all you need is a bit of butter and some garlic salt to make it a special dish.
You can go the homemade route and stuff your turkey with some dried bread and seasonings or go with a mix for around $2. Easy to make and now you have three incredible side dishes that are filling, traditional and cheap.
Mix gravy is actually pretty good and it costs less than a dollar. Just boil some water, stir in a packet and you are done. Use it to tie in all of the side dishes and turkey.
Last, but certainly not least is a nice dessert. A chocolate cake or a pie, if you prefer, can be had for around $5. Don’t look down on the frozen stuff, it turns out great.
There you have it, a meal for 4 for under $20 with minimal cooking skills. Are you a great cook? You can probably pull the meal off for even less.
Nothing says that you have to go to the extreme to celebrate the holiday. A simple tree and lights and you are good to go.
One idea to save big on decorations is to make it a tradition to decorate on Christmas Eve. Lot’s of people choose to do this.
Take advantage of closeout prices on trees and score a beauty for around $20. Add a set of lights for under $10 and some home made decorations and you are all decorated for about 30 bucks.
The great thing about waiting until Christmas Eve to decorate is that it becomes a very festive event and you can save a bunch of money.
When it comes to presents, you can really wreck your budget. Sure, you could spend hundreds of dollars on each kid and develop some materialistic little ones or you can restrain yourself and teach them the benefits of living responsibly.
If you are the average family with two kids, $75 a piece will do. With that amount of money and a little creative shopping, you can get them all they need. The rule of frugal spending at Christmas is to by a want, a need, a wear and a read.
Spend $50 for a want, $10 for a need, $10 for a wear and wrap it all up with a $5 book. Shop early and often to make the most of your money. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fantastic sales opportunities that you need to take advantage of.
As for the adults, why not just have the kids make you something special. As you get older the holidays lose their importance, as far as material things go. Do without in order to stay within your budget and keep the kids happy.
The key to staying on budget during the holidays is not falling for the advertising hype. The holidays do not have to be about materialism. Spending time with family and making memories is what it is all about, not spending 4000 dollars on gifts. So, go simple, stay on budget and teach your family about the things that are really important around the holidays.