The end of the year is a tough time for budgets. With kids home on vacation, huge holidays close together, it’s difficult to navigate, financially. If you’re worried about money, you’re not able to enjoy the family and friends and loved ones with whom you’re spending long overdue time. This year should mark the end of that terrible tradition. Here are a few helpful tips from a financial advisor friend on how to spend less money over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Prioritize Plans

Think big picture here. Don’t solely focus on your Thanksgiving plans, but think about the other holidays you’ll be celebrating, and how. Take into consideration travel, lodging, food and parties, and presents. Make a priority list based on all of your holiday plans and lay out a coordinating budget. Make sure your money reflects your plans, and if the two are at odds, trim and adjust some of your holiday plans in order to make the most important holiday events happen without issue.

Create A Holiday Budget

Perhaps you follow a strict budget all year round, or perhaps budgeting isn’t really your thing yet. Whichever way you work, creating a specific holiday budget is in your best interest. Especially with your holiday priorities in order, you’ll be able to assign money to each and budget appropriately to ensure everyone’s wishes come true.

Accept The Invitations

Did the neighbors, parents, or friends invite you over to do Thanksgiving with them? Take them up on that offer. It will drastically reduce your stress level and how much money you shell out. Bring a dish, a bottle of wine, and help clean up. Your hosts will be forever grateful for your thoughtfulness, and you will have had an inexpensive, thoroughly enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

Plan Accordingly

What this really means in this scenario, is don’t overbook yourself. The holidays are meant to be joyous and are so often stressed and tense because of the running around to make it from one party to the next to the next in time to then be back home and get ready for everyone to come over to your house. Build space into your schedule and budget and allow yourself to slow down and enjoy the holidays! Less can definitely be more in this instance. Some breathing room will make for a successful holiday and holiday budget, guaranteed.

Volunteer

One of the best things to do for your budget is also one of the best things you can do, period; and that is to volunteer. Maybe this year you can start a new tradition and forgo the extravagant dinner party and instead volunteer your time and skills at a local soup kitchen or shelter. Giving back is a rewarding, life changing experience. It will quickly remind you how much you have and how much you need, and how easy it is to affect others in a positive way.

Thanksgiving is the beginning of the final stretch. If you prepare for it well, you’ll be in great shape to have a wonderful two months of holidays. Focus on both financial and family priorities and try not to lose sight of the most important thing, which is quality time spent with loved ones without stress.

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