Today we’re featuring a guest post from Ally at HowtoSaveMoney.com.au
If you read personal finance blogs around the holiday season, you’d think they are more concerned about saving money and to actually enjoy the holidays. “It’s commercialization”, they said. Or, “You don’t need gifts.” Well, those are technically true but there is a line between being frugal and being cheap.
Here are the top 5 things you should not skimp on during the holidays so that you don’t cross that line:
- Healthy Food
- Family Safety
It’s a cliché that the secret to living is giving but that doesn’t make it less true. When money is tight and the economy tanks, the first in line to suffer are the charities – simply because that’s the expense people cut out first.
But what if no matter how much you are making you contribute a certain percentage of your money to charity? Try it out this holiday season: your $10 can change a person’s life and that fact alone puts your troubles in global perspective.
Studies have shown that people tend to gain weight over the holiday season because they put their diet on hold. Instead, they stuffed themselves with turkey, cookies, muffins and all the “traditional” foods.
But have you ever stopped to think that those “traditional foods” aren’t so traditional? Don’t you think the holiday season is the best time for you to get healthy? After all, all those distant relatives are coming and you don’t want them to see that new tire around your waist, do you?
The holiday season is also a time for parties, decorations and… accidents. So don’t try to skimp on things like child proofing your home if you have a toddler at home. And if you’re busy with the shopping, and the decorations, and your work, make sure you get someone to take care of your child – even if he seems old enough to take care of himself.
Trust me, nothing spoils the holiday mood more than accidents.
And instead of getting into more debt over the holidays, why not pay it off? Remember that debt is costing you money. A lot of people skimp on their repayments over the holidays thinking they would “get to it” when the new year dawns. But when did that ever work out?
If you add to your debt over the holidays, you’ll probably spend the rest of next year paying it off. Not only that, that $50 purse you bought with credit will actually cost you more like $70 when interests are calculated.
Lastly, there’s never a better time to show your appreciation to the people you love. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on gifts. In fact, a handmade gift is almost always better – provided you actually put in the effort. (For example, I just learned of papercraft and I think it makes great gifts!)
And if you think you don’t have the skills to make a handmade gift, try giving your most precious resource: time. Sometime all your family wants is a weekend away, camping. Or perhaps go on a fishing trip with your long lost buddy? There are plenty of ways to gift without spending a fortune.
Ally is part of the team that manages personal finance blogs in Sydney, Australia, which feature tips about how to save money and budgeting spreadsheet . Before joining the team, she was a Media Planner in McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc., with award-winning executions, including the Levi’s 501 “Live Unbuttoned” global campaign.