It’s called the silly season for a reason – but how much can you spend on fun this year? We’d say the answer is “whatever’s left after everything else is paid for,” but some may not be so confident in their ability to reign in the spending when it comes to Christmas season partying.
So in the second instalment of our Christmas savings tips, we’re sharing our budget friendly advice when it comes to navigating the parties and entertainment of the silly season.
Thrifty Tips for Celebrating Out On The Town
If you’re the type of person who leaves home with strict rules on expenditure but becomes spend-happy after a few drinks, save yourself the temptation and leave the cards (both credit and debit) at home. Take out a pre-determined amount of cash and put that in your wallet to physically limit the amount you can spend on the night.
When you don’t have any money but have received an invitation to go out, get selective about how you’ll spend your money. Perhaps drive so you’re not tempted to spend a fortune on drinks.
“I don’t have any money in my transaction account but I’ve got some wiggle room on my credit card this week, so I’m fine to go out…” Do you really want to go into the New Year chasing your tail financially? Don’t go into debt.
Don’t go! If you don’t have the money, be an adult about it and admit that there’s not room in your budget, and you can’t go out. You’ll thank yourself after the FOMO (fear of missing out) has subsided, and so will your wallet.
If you are going to hit the town, don’t be exorbitant for the sake of it. Why pay $20 for a cocktail when some bars sell basic mixed drinks, beer and wine for $10? Buying cocktails seems even sillier when you consider the fact that many of the more colourful cocktails are high in sugar and low in everything else.
If the prospect of being broke isn’t enough to help you reign in your party spending, why not consider your health? If you’re going full out and having anywhere from 3+ drinks per night, your body will be feeling the affect over the festive period. This can also lead to spending due to your mood swings. Take care of yourself and your wallet, and take it easy.
Budget Friendly Tips for Entertaining at Home
If hosting lunch or dinner, ask relatives and friends to bring a plate. This way the expense is shared and you get to have more time with family and friends and less time in the kitchen.
Make a budget. Did you notice that almost every one of our articles about managing your finances or saving include the tip “make a budget”. It’s because it works. Set your limits, and stick to them.
Make a plan. Winging it usually leads to overspending and last minute panics because something is missing. Spend a bit of time planning, and you’ll be able to shop efficiently and save money. Plus, with a plan, you can start preparing a few weeks early and grab those key ingredients and snack foods on special.
Keep it simple. It can be tempting to go all Masterchef or Nigella and try and create an elaborate Christmas feast – but most people are happy with some ham, salad and a slice of pavlova. Don’t overcommit and cause yourself too much stress and expense.
Borrow and beg. Rather than buying things you only use once a year (think decorative tablecloths, punch bowls or huge platters) borrow from family and friends.
Stick to seasonal ingredients. They’re cheaper and taste way better.
Have a great music playlist – it’s the key to any great party.
We’re not going to go full Grinch on you – we all deserve to relax and celebrate over Christmas – but stick within your budget so January isn’t full of hangovers of the financial, or health, kind.