It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit, overspend and lose track of how much money you’re putting into holiday shopping. By planning and sticking to a budget, you can avoid debt and keep your spirits up long after the holiday lights go out.

Goodwill NCW’s Financial and Debt Solutions Services also is here to help if you are feeling overwhelmed by your finances and need a helping hand not only this holiday season but year-round.

Here are 6 ways to save during the holidays.

  1. Create a budget and stick to it. It’s easy to overspend and get caught up in the holiday spirit without a budget. Just make sure you allow room for the unplanned purchases. There are great resources for setting budgets that our counselors can help with.
  2. Be careful with credit cards. Paying only with a credit card quickly can become out of hand. Pay with cash instead. This way you only are spending what you have. When the holidays are over, you can be debt free.
  3. Consider homemade gifts. Find and decorate a tin or fill an old cookie jar with homemade goodies. Check out our DIY playlist for inspiration. Consider decorating a glass jar, putting an inexpensive candle inside and gifting it. Remember, thoughtful gifts outshine expensive ones.
  4. Potluck holiday meals. Introduce a new tradition and ask friends/family to bring a dish to pass rather than hosting a meal you made yourself from beginning to end.
  5. Give time or an experience in place of gifts. We can confuse happiness with meaningfulness. Simple and heartfelt truly can be the best gifts. Offer a night out with babysitting services for new parents or take a grandparent out for a picnic.
  6. Make a list and stick to it. Focus on how much you can spend, not what you want to buy. If the list gets too long for your budget, go through it again. Suggest doing a name exchange, where everyone picks the name of someone to buy for, avoiding having to buy for everyone.

Spend this magical season with friends and family while not getting caught up in the spending frenzy. Use these 6 ways to save during the holidays and enjoy your time rather than stressing over money.