You budget for presents, holiday cards, tips for your hair stylist and paper carrier. You remembered your kids’ teachers, the holiday feast, and stocking stuffers.
But how many of you remember to budget for the busy social calendar that monopolizes the holiday season?
There is a LOT going on right now: cookie exchanges, office parties, family gatherings and friend get-togethers and charity events. And almost all of it involves spending money.
So how do you deal with an expensive social calendar?
First off, don’t be afraid to say “no.” If you can’t afford to attend every event, just politely decline. You don’t have to give a reason. Just say, “I’d love to but I can’t.” If they truly care about you, they’ll understand.
If you do go out, keep a watchful eye on budget busters. Skip the alcohol and other expensive drinks and order water instead. Consider ordering an appetizer instead of a main course. Search the internet for coupon deals.
If you have some level of influence on the event, such as gatherings for family and friends, try to steer things back toward home. Potlucks at a friend’s home can be far more enjoyable (and affordable) than a big night on the town. Save money by getting together for breakfast or dessert instead of a several-course meal.
The key to enjoying this busy time of year is to share time together. Don’t let money sour your social calendar.