Budgeting for Holiday Expenses

Smart Solutions • November 2014

Whether it's for food, festivities or fun, holiday spending can add up fast. So we've outlined some ways you can save money while still making your celebrations festive.

Today's Cash Is a Card

Start by taking a realistic look at your budget and choosing a strategy for sticking to it. For many people, a great way to avoid a large credit card payment in January is to purchase all of your holiday items with cash — or today's equivalent, a prepaid card like Commerce Bank's mySpending Card®. You can purchase one online, load it with your holiday funds and use it for your purchases as you would a credit or debit card. (Load and spending limits apply. Click on the link above for more details.) When you've spent the amount you put on the card, you know your holiday shopping is done — and your budget stays on track.

Festive Doesn't Have to Mean Expensive

Once you have your budget in hand, it's time to prune back spending where you can. If it's your turn to host your friends and family this year, try these ideas to make it special without breaking the bank:

• Borrow What You Need
Whether it's holiday décor, extra serving platters or seasonal music, why purchase something you'll only use for a few hours? Ask a family member or friend if you can borrow it.
• Spread the wealth
While you provide the main dish, ask your guests to bring desserts, beverages and side dishes that go with what you're serving. Bonus: This organized potluck approach saves time, too!
• Ditch the Gifts
Instead of host/hostess gifts, ask guests to bring a non-perishable food item for your local food bank. Not only does this help out your local community, it's an affordable way for your guests to celebrate the season too.

Source: "Holiday Entertaining on a Budget," by Erin Burt, Kiplinger's, November 2008,accessed Oct. 10, 2014

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