This time of year can be tough when you are on a budget. Whether you live in a place where it snows or where the sun shines year round, the end of the year is filled with lots of gift-giving and big gatherings – and those things cost money!
Even if you are as careful with your money as seemingly possible, evening buying one happy hour drink at each event can really add up. Spending $7 a day, five days a week, comes up to $150 a month – enough to pay for 30-days’ worth of groceries – and then there are gifts to buy! And, that is all to say nothing of travel costs – be it a plane ride to see your family for Thanksgiving or a taxi for New Year’s Eve. The whole thing is enough to break anyone’s bank, let alone a girl’s on a budget.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
If getting home for the holidays is your biggest wish, ask for it. It can be a humbling thing but just explain to the people you want to visit that you would love to spend the holidays with them but really can’t afford the fuel or plane ticket. Suggest that in lieu of a present, your loved ones chip in for your travel. If you are close enough to your family that not getting to see them this holiday season would really bum you out, odds are this is something that can be worked out – just make sure to mention this early (like November) so that you will have more time to plan your travel arrangements together.
ASK AND YOU COULD RECEIVE
If there is something you really need, or just really want, there is no shame in asking for it. Granted, it could appear petty to start asking your loved ones for highly specific items, like asking for those leather gloves you saw last weekend when you were having brunch, but think about this on a broader scale. Let’s say your favorite band is coming into town and you don’t have the cash to go. You could ask your bestie if this year the two of you could have give each other “experiences” instead of “stuff”. Mention you’d like to go to the concert and ask him or her where she would like to go. It doesn’t have to be a concert; day trips and overnights at near by cities are also great experiences you can share instead of gifts.
KICKSTART YOUR GOALS
If you are embarrassed to ask your loved ones for specific items or for help towards specific goals (like new tires), try crowdfunding. Sites like Kickstarter let you set a goal and invite your friends to help foot the bill. Why not ask for donations instead of gifts? This is a great way to raise a couple hundred dollars for specific purchases, such as new tires, a microwave, or even paying off a bill that got out of hand.
GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING
Apply the same approach to buying gifts as well. If your friend or family member needs something and you know they can’t afford it – do that for them if you can. Making presents is an idea, and if that interests you you can find a lot on the subject, but even something as simple as a $10 gift card to the supermarket could mean a lot to someone on a strict budget – certainly more than a $10 candle.
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