Healthy for the Holidays Part Two: Financial Health & Holiday Savings
Earlier this month, I shared my favorite tips for maintaining physical health during the holidays. I decided to do a part two of Healthy for the Holidays because although we often use “health” to describe physical fitness, health is much more than a diet and exercise. It is the state of holistic well-being and the key to living a fulfilling and fruitful life. Though the holidays are full of unique excitement and small exceptions to everyday rules, it is not a time to pause your healthy lifestyle. Instead, it is a time to challenge yourself and those around you to set manageable boundaries by applying healthful practices to your annual holiday routine.
Between cooking, hosting, traveling, buying gifts, and making memories with your loved ones, the holidays can be such a hectic time for both those who love and despise this time of year. If you are like me, you love the holidays and want to outdo yourself with bigger and better decorations, gifts, and food every year. Others, on the other hand, may say “bah humbug” to any mention of holiday cheer. Nonetheless, the countdown has begun, and holiday prep is in full swing. Whichever group you belong to, it is important this year like every year to prioritize your financial fitness by finding holiday savings wherever possible.
How to Be Financially Healthy for the Holidays:
- Serve a home cooked meal – Catering your holiday dinner may be a convenient option especially if you don’t enjoy cooking, expect a large number of guests, or are short on time. We know, however, that convenience costs. This year, I encourage you to limit your holiday spending by identifying ways to make the majority of your holiday meal at home. Some ideas to get you started are cooking and freezing a few dishes on the days leading up to the holidays, hosting a potluck, or tackling cooking with some good old-fashioned teamwork. If necessary, make a list and set a budget for what items you want to buy and make at home. For my family, dessert is always covered with my mom’s amazing homemade carrot cake.
- Make handmade gifts – When it comes to gifts, it’s the thought that counts rather than the price. Save some money by tapping into a new skill and making thoughtful homemade gifts like candles, jewelry, soaps, hand-painted trinkets, and more. Have fun with it!
- Give the gift of experience – Instead of giving a gift, think about an experience you can do with someone you love. Plan a fun activity for you and your family members or friends to do together. This savings strategy may be a go-to for loved ones whose love language is quality time.
- Reduce, Reuse, Refurbish – Another creative way I like to shop for big ticket gifts is to look for refurbished electronics and toys. There are different names for these items like “pre-owned” or “open-box”, but the concept is the same. These are items that have been previously purchased and lightly used or returned to the manufacturer as defective. They are fixed and made like-new and approved for resale at a significantly discounted price. Stores like Best Buy and GameStop offer great deals on refurbished goods. However, before making a purchase on an unfamiliar site, be sure to verify the company’s legitimacy and check out the reviews and return policies.
- Shop in Bulk – Cut costs by buying in bulk at Bj’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club this holiday season. Stock up and save on ingredients, decorations, and household supplies.
- Organize a Secret Santa – If you celebrate Christmas, consider doing a Secret Santa with your friends, family members, and colleagues. Cap the amount each member can spend at a price that helps everyone save. A limit that gives my friends and I just enough flexibility is $25.
These are just a few ways that I manage my spending during the holidays, but there are many more strategies to experiment with. Share your commitment to saving with friends and family, and brainstorm other cost-saving ideas that may work for you.
There are no rules to holiday saving, but the goal, like with the 80/20 diet, is to maintain a delicate balance that allows you to enjoy holiday traditions while adopting healthy habits that benefit your family for months to come. I hope you find these cost-saving tips helpful in reducing this year’s holiday stress and spending. But most of all, I hope that despite the many difficulties we have all faced this year, that you will be happy, home, and healthy for the holidays.