Get real about your finances
First there was the layoff. Next, a major car repair. And then your spouse got sick and the medical co-pays mounted.
Even so, don’t fall into this trap: “After everything we’ve gone through, we deserve a great Christmas.”
This year, be honest about what you can afford to spend. Create a budget that includes all costs and, if it looks unmanageable, start cutting. Feel free to skip expensive traditions, making cost-effective substitutions like these:
- Opt for e-cards (especially funny ones from sites like JibJab.com).
- Instead of eating out, invite friends for an open house with inexpensive punch and homemade cookies.
- Rather than giving many medium-sized gifts, find a gift for the entire family, such as an annual pass to the zoo or children’s museum.
When you get push-back, say, “Yes, this is different. But it’s been a tough year, and we can’t afford to go into debt to celebrate.” Ask your household for suggestions for a fun, meaningful celebration.