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It’s no secret that the holiday season is associated with a lot of spending. Between gifts, parties and making memories, we tend to overspend during these months.

However, with a few tweaks to your usual routine, you can have a happy and successful holiday season without breaking the bank. Incorporate some or all 10 of these tips to make your holidays enjoyable and free of financial stress.

1. Make a Spending Budget

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To make your holiday season financially successful, set a strict budget on what you know you can spend. Ideally, your cash flow and what you’ve saved throughout the year will give you an idea of the limit you need to set for the entire holiday season.

Once you have this number in mind, write it down and divide up how much you’ll spend on various holiday expenses, like gifts, activities and meals.

2. Start a Secret Santa Tradition

Whether in your office or with extended family or a group of friends, you can save money by starting a Secret Santa tradition instead of buying gifts for everyone in the group. In Secret Santa, each person in the group draws the name of someone else and buys either one gift or a couple of small gifts for that one person. There is usually a budget set so all gifts are fairly equal in value, and the pairs are kept secret until the gift exchange.

This will shorten your giving list significantly, as well as give you the time to find something meaningful for your Secret Santa match.

3. Open a Savings Account for Holiday Expenses

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Once you have your budget in mind for the holidays, it’s a good idea to set this money apart. Find a financial institution like Vantage Bank to open a savings account so your money can start earning interest.

This is especially useful for the money you know you won’t use until later in the season, like purchases you need to make in December and January for items such as food, traveling and activities.

4. Use Creative Decorating

Though the season can be tempting, you don’t need to purchase a lot of decorations to make your home feel festive and inviting. The internet is full of ideas for decor you can make from materials you already have on hand.

You can also enlist the help of nature to bring your home into the season. Strategically place bundles of fir or other seasonal plants around the home for a beautiful and natural way to bring the holiday spirit inside.

5. Host Potlucks

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Cooking and baking can become very expensive during the holidays when you have lots of friends and family members to entertain. To cut down on dinner costs, host a potluck instead!

This option is not only cost-effective since you will only be responsible for a portion of the meal, but has the added benefit of bringing everyone together as they share their favorite dishes.

6. Bargain Hunting

Before shopping for the holidays, do your research. Use coupon apps, local newspapers and manufacturer websites to get deals on the things you are planning to purchase.

When shopping, keep only the items you already need in mind. The temptation of getting a good deal can lead to overspending, so stay focused on those things you need. It can help to make a list of what items you want and which store has the best deal on that item, to keep you focused during the shopping excitement.

7. Make Gifts

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Pinterest is full of DIY gift ideas for every budget. Aim for gifts from the heart that will speak to the recipient. Something handmade often means much more than a store-bought gift. DIY gifts don’t have to just include crafts or artwork, either. You can cook or bake something that will warm the recipient’s heart and stomach.

8. Shop With Cash

When shopping with debit or credit cards, it can be easy to overspend and break the bank. Psychologically, it is harder to part with cash. So once you decide on a budget for your shopping trip, take out the exact amount of cash you need so you are not tempted to overspend.

9. Exchange Gifts With Limits

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Another great tradition is having a gift exchange. Everyone in a group brings a gift under a certain amount, usually $10 or $20. This forces everyone to get creative and also ensures you only have to buy one, less expensive gift. There are many fun ways to exchange these gifts sure to get everyone in the holiday spirit.

10. Give Your Talents

Most likely, your profession or hobbies include a talent or skill that would be greatly beneficial to someone else. Offer your services as a gift to someone who could really use them. Our time is the most generous thing we can give.

Enjoy the Season Without Breaking the Bank

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There are many ways to throttle spending during the holidays. These tips can help you save money while still enjoying the season with friends and family. Making smart decisions on holiday spending will help ease the financial stress that sometimes occurs this time of year. For more tips on saving through the holidays, contact a Vantage representative today.