There is a lot of pressure during the holiday season to spend money—especially when it comes to Christmas. Unfortunately, our spending habits often get out of hand, and we end up with debts we can’t afford. The good news is, there are ways to make your holiday spending less extravagant without sacrificing your celebration.
Why should you worry about overspending on Christmas Eve?
The holiday season is one of the most expensive times for many families, which means it’s also the time of year when we accrue the most debt. From indulging our loved ones with expensive, “must-have” gifts to going all out on festivities, the costs for Christmas add up quickly, leaving many of us reeling when the January credit card statement comes. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way if you plan ahead.
Instead of making this a season of debt, make it a season of practicing better financial habits. First, make it a priority to stick to a strict holiday budget. It can be difficult to do when you want to please your friends and family, but your loved ones would feel much better knowing that their gifts didn’t put you into debt.
Next, create an actionable plan for how you’ll tackle your outstanding debt for the rest of the year. You can use this free debt snowball calculator as a way to assess your situation and find ways that get you out of debt as quickly as possible.
How to have a fancy, budget-friendly Christmas Eve celebration
Now, how to create a fanciful Christmas Eve without overspending…
1. Keep the meal simple
If you’re hosting Christmas Eve dinner, then keep the menu simple. Remember that “simple” doesn’t need to mean “boring” when you’re creative. Use the same ingredients in different ways for appetizers, desserts, and side dishes. For the main course, stick with one or two main dishes instead of multiple options that can overwhelm your guests.
2. Try using discount grocery stores
Discount grocers like Trader Joe’s and Aldi are fantastic places to get quality groceries on a budget. They’ve also got readymade appetizers and side dishes that are unique enough to look custom without having to overspend on food. If you’re planning to do charcuterie boards or other hors d’oeuvres, then stores like these are great places to get packs of meat, cheeses, and other staples for much cheaper than your big box grocery stores.
3. Set a defined cocktail for the night
The alcohol budget can get out of hand quickly for holiday parties, with hosts feeling like they need to offer a wide selection of liquors. Luckily, you can avoid overspending in this category by instead offering one or two “signature” cocktails for everyone. Try creating a holiday-themed punch for the festivities or a self-serve spiked hot cocoa as an aperitif to both save money and give those guests who love cocktails a reason to celebrate.
4. Head to the thrift store for decor
Seasonal decor is typically marked up at a premium price that can take your breath away at the cash register. Thankfully, thrift stores usually have a plentiful stock of seasonal decor for sale throughout the year at steep discounts. You can also pick up fancy crystal glassware, punch bowls, and vintage porcelain place settings that add an elegant look for pennies on the dollar.
The bottom line
The keys to fancy-yet-minimal spending for your Christmas Eve party are to keep it simple and commit to not overspending. Use any or all of these four ways to ensure that your Christmas party is both memorable and budget-friendly.