7 Ways to Save Money During the Holidays for You and Your Family

Nurse Next Door

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The holiday season is right around the corner! Every year most of us go above and beyond to ensure our loved ones receive the best holiday gifts. And every year, we try to outshine ourselves from the year before to ensure our family feels loved and appreciated.

As you know, it can get expensive time this time of year, as we have to juggle between gift-giving, food, and parties. Please don’t fret because we’ve listed seven helpful money-saving tips to help you prepare and save money during the holidays!

Family Christmas Dinner

1) Go Potluck Style

Offering your space to host a large family holiday party is a big undertaking for most people. For that reason, it’s not unreasonable to ask that people help out by bringing food, drinks, supplies, or decorations.

The holidays are a time to give, and people are generally happy to help pitch in. So go potluck style and ask your guests to bring an item. Not only will you save money during the holidays, but everyone will enjoy trying various unique dishes.

You can also request that your mom bring your favorite dish! After all, what better way to show off their secret recipe than by offering to cook for your party?

Still, a lot of planning goes into a potluck. It’s worth it if you want to save money, but you must ensure everybody is on the same page. There are many things to consider—themes, preparation, portions, etc.

You can also consider using a catering company for dinners or hiring in-home care to help with meal preparation. Nurse Next Door’s care team can provide thoughtful in-home cooking services for seniors to ensure they have the most enjoyable culinary experience at every meal. Don’t waste all the food leftovers; invite your guests to all pitch in an equal amount of money for dinner and bring their Tupperware to take home delicious leftovers!

Or, if you’re a senior, the leftovers are great for a few meals later. Tis’ the season to break bread, enjoy great company, and be budget-savvy!

Do you want to try some new recipes? Check out some yummy winter treat recipes here.

Christmas opening presents

2) Try Secret Santa Gift Exchange and White Elephant Gift Exchange

Families can expand over time, and it can get quite expensive if you purchase a present for everyone. Instead of buying individual gifts, offer a secret Santa present exchange instead.

A secret Santa exchange is an arrangement in which your family exchanges presents anonymously. Each group member is assigned another family member to buy a small gift for, typically costing no more than a set amount. You can decide with your group how much to put the purchase amount for.

Another great way to exchange gifts and save money is to try the famous “white elephant gift exchange.” This is a fun arrangement where each family member brings one wrapped present purchased at a predetermined amount.

Family members sit in a circle and place the gifts in the middle. The first player selects a gift they want from the pile and opens it for everyone to see. The next player can either “steal” the opened gift or select a new wrapped present from the stack. As you continue, each following player can choose to either pick an unopened present from the pool or steal a previous player’s gift. 

To keep the exchange moving along, there several limitations on gift swapping:

  • Players can only steal one present per turn, which means players who have a present stolen from them will have to wait to get it back.
  • Typically after three swaps, the turn automatically comes to an end.
  • After all the players have a turn, the first player can decide to swap their present for any other opened gift. Anyone who had their present stolen may steal from someone else (as long as that person hasn’t had their gift stolen from yet). When someone declines to steal a present, the game ends.

Counting dollars

3) Create a Holiday Budget and Manage Your Holiday Spending

Spending money during the holidays is inevitable. But there are great ways to save money during the holidays and avoid holiday debt by organizing your finances to cover your holiday expenses.

The first step for managing your finances is establishing a budget and setting aside a valid holiday savings account.

If your money needs to be more organized, knowing if you have enough funds to cover your holiday spending can be challenging. It would be best to determine how much you would like to spend on gift-giving while factoring in other costs like food and parties.

Once you’ve established a holiday budget, you can begin holiday shopping and search for the best deals possible. You may need to spread out your spending throughout the month, especially if you’re on a fixed income and need more funds to do it all at once.

Most elderly parents are on a monthly fixed income or living off retirement savings. Work with them to set a holiday budget they can manage. Mom or Dad may also need help budgeting their holiday expenses this season. Here are some ways to help seniors organize their finances.

Tip: use cash rather than a credit card to track your spending.

It’s a helpful way to set your budget for holiday shopping.

Check out a great infographic from Chime for more tips on financial tips:

Holiday Money Saving Infographic

4) Do-It-Yourself Handmade Gifts

If you consider yourself crafty, you can save a lot of money by making handmade gifts, holiday decorations, gift bags, Christmas cards, baking cookies, and tree ornaments all by yourself! It’s also fun to get Mom or Dad involved and into the holiday spirit. Several DIY websites can guide you on how to make different items. Some of our favorites are:

Making do-it-yourself gifts or decor is a great way to get the whole family together. Spend an afternoon with your elderly mum or dad and engage in hands-on creativity!

Crafting offers tremendous benefits for seniors because it can improve motor skills, increase connection with family members or friends, and even reduce stress and anxiety. According to the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, seniors who participated in crafts like pottery and knitting had a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairments. The research in a Psychological Science study also noted that seniors who quilted or engaged in digital photography improved memory function.

Making gifts yourself is a great way to save money and conveys the feeling that your contributions are heartfelt and thoughtful. The price tag does not determine the joy received from a present but the meaning behind it.

Gift wrapping holidays

 5) Cut Back On Extras

Nobody likes to cut back, but it might be the best way to save money during the holiday season. So resist the urge to buy non-necessities and non-holiday purchases for December.

When purchasing gifts for others, we can sneak in a gift or two for ourselves. Throwing an item you want into your cart is tempting because you might rarely go holiday shopping. But remind yourself to stay on track with your holiday budget, and add those items to your gift list instead. You never know; maybe one of your loved ones or even Santa will get it for you.

Decorating Christmas tree

6) Attend Affordable or Free Events

The season’s calendar is filled with parties, events, and traditions. Instead of attending countless parties and gift exchanges, try offering alternatives to your friends and family.

Over December, outings can rack up the bills.

One great idea is to swap out a traditional party with food and drink for a holiday movie marathon! It’s fun to get everyone together and get into the spirit with the classics.

There are usually many free activities available for the whole family during the holidays. From browsing holiday lights to public carolers and Christmas markets—there’s an event for everyone (even seniors) to help you get into the holiday spirit! Another great way to save money this season is to check out local community events.

Elderly woman wearing Santa hat

7) Set Healthy Boundaries

It can be awkward to discuss finances with loved ones. Yet, getting into the habit of setting healthy boundaries around gift-giving, parties, hosting, and more is essential.

There is no question that holidays can come with added pressure and stress, but they shouldn’t cause burnout or unmanageable stress. Instead, the holidays should be about spending time with your loved ones, gratitude, giving, and reflection.

If something doesn’t feel right during the holidays, have a productive conversation with your loved one. Explain your concerns and feelings, and devise a solution that benefits everyone.

A great way to set a healthy boundary is to discuss holiday traditions, set realistic expectations, determine budgets and discuss spending limits. Having an open and honest conversation about the holidays will ensure you and your loved ones are all on the same page.

It will relieve you of the added pressure you might be feeling, and better yet, it will make you love the holidays even more!

Elderly woman during the Holidays

We hope these tips can help you save some money over the holidays. Spending quality time with those you love is worth more than anything. So we wish you joyful holiday cheer with your family and friends. May your holiday season be merry and bright!

From all of us at Nurse Next Door, we wish you warmth and happiness this holiday season!


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