Fighting off a financial hangover

Young Money - Vanessa Kunderman
Young Money – Vanessa Kunderman

(Photo by TheUglySweaterShop.com)

The holidays are always an expensive time. Between all the presents, baking, decorations, and new winter boots, it can be one expensive time for the average millennial.
No one wants to make a “Christmas Budget” – trust me. No one does.
And many young people spend their money hoping that their “Christmas bonus” will cover the added expenses they had this month.
Because let’s face it: it’s rare for a millennial to save for the holidays in advance. Between dinner dates, newborns, or changing apartments – who has time for that?
But there’s no reason you need to have a financial hangover after Christmas wraps up. With a few money-savvy tips, this can be one of your best holiday seasons yet.
Swap treats with friends
‘80s and ‘90s babies remember the Easy Bake Oven, and as we age, many of us like to show off all the skills we’ve learned in the baking department. But instead of splurging on the ingredients for your rum balls, short bread, gingersnaps and fudge, pick one treat and ask a couple friends to also make a different treat. Make enough for four servings (this is way more affordable than buying different ingredients for a bunch of recipes), and then swap a bit of your cookies for some of Amanda’s eggnog Florentines. You might discover a great treat in the process!
Plan a gift exchange
Instead of buying for every person in your family, opt for picking names this year and agree on a budget with everyone. By settling on $100 for one person instead of spending $50 each on ten people, you save money and possibly uncover a new family tradition. It’ll be the family joke to see who has to buy for crotchety old Aunt Eileen each year.
Support local wares
With the rise of the Internet and online shopping, many people are making their purchases on the web, and punishing their credit cards in the process. Add in potential duty and shipping fees, and that cute hand-carved keychain for dad is looking rather expensive. By shopping at local stores, not only are you encouraging small businesses, but you’re also keeping your money in your own economy. A cozy Mine Clothing sweater reppin’ your Winnipeg pride beats those tired American Apparel zip-ups any day. Sorry!
Invite your pals over
Who doesn’t like to plan an ugly Christmas sweater party? Instead of venturing out in the cold to a hip restaurant, invite your best pals over and ask everyone to bring a treat and a bottle of wine. You don’t need the $200 dinner bill for you and your date in order to have a memorable holiday experience with your friends.
Put on Chic Gamine’s new Christmas album, and chow down on Amanda’s eggnog Florentines while you sip vino together. Do a gift exchange if you’re organized enough, or just sing carols together between dripping red wine on that hideous sweater.
Vanessa Kunderman writes every month on money issues facing millennials. Email her at: hello@vanessakunderman.com.

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