As the leaves fall from the trees and the crisp, fall temperatures drop in preparation for snow, we’re reminded that the holiday season is just around the corner. With hot cider, warm fireplaces and joyous family gatherings in the making, we often forget the demanding work that goes into these next couple of months. To better prepare for what’s ahead, it’s time to start planning for the holiday season.
Create a Budget
As with any other occasion where you’ll likely spend a substantial amount of money, the holidays are the perfect time to organize your finances. The first thing you can do is look at your current budget to see what you’ll have left after bills and other necessities. This will serve as a baseline to help you determine how much wiggle room you’ll have for holiday spending. From there, further allocate specific funds to categories like food, travel and gift expenses; you may even want to create a sub-savings account to keep funds designated for the holiday season. Sticking to your budget and setting funds aside will help prevent money shortages in the months to come.
Start Buying Now
Once your budget is set, start making the kinds of purchases that are easy to push off until the last minute. It’s a good idea to start buying nonperishable food that can be frozen until your holiday gatherings take place; if you’re worried about them spoiling, pick up some foods closer to the event. As for items such as gifts and travel arrangements, start making early purchases to save time.
Whether you’re hosting or traveling for the holidays, curb spending by participating in celebrations where everybody brings a dish. Not only will this cut down on the time spent preparing big meals, but it will save money — making one or two dishes is much more cost-effective than preparing a full-course meal. Another important benefit of a bring-your-own-dish gathering is that it encourages diversity in food options, thus satisfying the taste buds of all attendees.
Make Leftovers Last
Leftovers are one of the best parts about the conclusion of holiday feasts. The remaining components are easily transformed into multiple small meals over the course of a few days, which can save time and money. Whether you choose to reheat the remainder of your meal or completely change it into a new dish, plenty of options are available to continue enjoying holiday cuisine.
After weeks of hard work, you deserve to enjoy time spent with family and friends. Through proper planning and budgeting, you can do just that.