A cozy and cheap holiday snack.

Holiday Budgeting in 2021

2021 has been an interesting year, there is no doubt about that. And, as much as many of you are looking forward to the holidays, many more are dreading the expenses. For most people, budgeting is going to be more important this year than it has ever been. Here are some ways in which you can get through the 2021 holiday season without too much financial damage.

Cutting Costs This Holiday Season

It looks like 2021 is going to be much more expensive than holidays of the past. While we are definitely coming out of this pandemic, we are still dealing with a number of issues like record breaking inflation and supply chain problems. What this means is that everything that we normally buy will be harder to find and much more expensive.

Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can make cuts to your holiday budget, but they might require you to do things a little bit different this year. Take a look at five steps you can take to salvage this holiday season and limit the strain on your budget.

1) Shop The Early Deals

When times are tough, the instinct is to hold on to your money as long as possible, waiting until the last minute to purchase holiday gifts. This could end up costing you hundreds of dollars when it comes time to make you purchases.

If you are sure that you will be buying gifts, you should buy them early. Most retailers are rolling out deals early this year and the savings are not going to get any better. In fact, with the potential for shortages and supply chain problems, you should grab the deals now to avoid potentially paying more later in the season.

Should supply become a problem, you can bet that prices will go up. Classic supply and demand rules will tell you that when supply goes down while demand stays up, prices will rise.

Make a list of everything that you intend to buy for the holidays and start buying it early as it goes on sale.

2) Limit Your Gift Giving

While you are thinking about gifts, it might be a good idea to cut down on that gift list this year. 2021 has been a rough year, and everyone knows it. Nobody will fault you for pulling back on gift kidding, even for your close family.

For those of you with kids, think about implementing the Want-Need-Wear-Read program. Simply put, you buy your child something they want, something they need, a gift to wear and one to read. Four gifts that will still allow you and them to enjoy the holiday without going into any unnecessary debt. When you think about it, this plan makes perfect sense because most gifts are just filler anyway. There are only really one or two gifts that stand out each year, so just give them.

As for the rest of your friends and family, think about going the DIY route. Websites like Pinterest are overflowing with ideas for holiday crafts. You should be able to find a gift that you can make for virtually anyone on your list. Not a crafty person? Just make some cookies to hand out or even repackage some store bought ones. Post pandemic, everyone will get it and it truly is the thought that counts this year.

3) Deviate From The Normal Menu

Like most people, you probably have a traditional holiday meal in mind. This year, you might have to deviate from the plan a bit in order to make your holiday budget work without an expensive holiday loan. With the problems in our supply chain, some of your holiday favorites like Turkeys will be much more expensive and possibly might not even be available. Don’t worry, this just means that you have to be flexible and possibly creative.

Instead of turkey, serve whole chicken or just move away from the traditional holiday theme altogether. Who is to say that you can not serve burgers and hot dogs during the holiday season? Just pick foods that you like, preferably ones that are on sale and run with it. You can still have a great meal and will likely spend much less time slaving away in the kitchen.

4) Stay At Home

Holiday travel has long been a tradition for many families. This might mean traveling across the city for a family dinner or a cross country trip to visit distant relatives. With rising gas prices and travel expenses, 2021 might just be a year to stay home and cut out the travel.

Luckily, you can still enjoy your family and you can do it the same way that you have been working, remotely. Remote video has come a long way, especially with services like Facetime and Google Duo. Your relatives will understand and some of them might even prefer remote celebrations as this virus still hangs on.

Staying at home will allow you to save on decorating, snacks, meals and even house cleaning. Instead of struggling to get the house ready, just enjoy your free time while keeping your family safe at home.

5) Cut Back On Decorating

Finally, if you are an over the top decorator, this year would be a great time to pull back. Use what you already have, but refrain from adding additional decorations to your home.

If you do not have decorations or just feel lost without adding something new, once again turn to Pinterest. There are literally hundreds of decorating projects waiting for you.

These decorating projects will save you money and can serve as cheap holiday entertainment. Get the kids around the table and make home-made decorations or a cool DIY garland.

To Sum It All Up

The holidays are what you make of them. They do not have to be a time to just spend, spend ,spend. Instead of stretching your holiday budget, pull back and enjoy what the season really should be about. Enjoying your family and appreciating what you already have.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.