Xmas on a budgetSpread holiday cheer while sticking to your budget

Contrary to what some people believe, you can still celebrate the holidays in style without throwing your budget out of the window and breaking the bank. All you need to do is to think outside the box and you can surely find inexpensive ways to spread the holiday cheer. If you think that this is easier said than done, here are some tips that can help you get started on the right track.

Create a holiday budget. You can manage your spending a lot better by making a list of everything you need to buy or spend money on for the holiday season. Set an appropriate budget for the decorations, gifts and entertainment. Then make the necessary adjustments based on what you can realistically afford to spend. 

Make use of what you already have. You don’t have to buy new decorations to create a festive atmosphere. You can make use of whatever you have. For example, you can frame holiday cards to decorate your walls, light a scented candle to bring back happy yuletide memories, decorate your tree with vintage postcards, or fill clear decorative glass containers with colorful sweet treats and display it on your mantelpiece or tabletop.      

Compare prices. Discover the best deals in town by using a shopping bot when shopping online. Simply type in the name of the product and you will see a list of online retailers that offer the product and a price range.

Shop early. Make a gift list and start your holiday shopping early on to take advantage of sales and deals and avoid stressful last minute shopping. 

Shop at cash-back online malls. You can get a certain percentage back (usually between 2% and 5% of your total purchase price) from all your online purchases by shopping at popular cash-back malls such as Upromise, E-bates and FatWallet. This is a great way to shop online so you may want to give it a try.  

Make use of coupons and gift vouchers. This is the perfect time to put all those unspent gift vouchers into good use so look around the house to see if you still have them. You may also want to consider clipping coupons to get great discounts for your holiday grocery shopping.

Leave your credit cards at home. Consider using cash or a prepaid debit card so you can easily see if you are spending more than what your budget allows.

Be creative when hosting parties. Consider throwing an impressive but inexpensive holiday party by encouraging your guests to bring their favorite holiday dish for the occasion. Keep track of what will be served during the party so that you can easily provide the rest.

Save on drinks. When hosting parties, you should consider serving boxed wine since it tastes just as good as bottled wine, only cheaper.