Holiday Party Planning Killed Your Budget? How to Get Back on Track
Holiday party planning is all fun and games — until you check your post-party account statements and see the damage it can do to your budget! Despite that, you don’t have to let a little carefree holiday party planning stomp out your festive spirit. Instead, follow these simple steps to get your post-holiday party budget back on track.
Assess the damage.
You can delay opening that credit card statement, but it won’t make the balance disappear. Face the financial reality your holiday party planning has created and calculate the exact number you need to pay off.
When you know what you owe, you’re empowered to form an action plan to get your budget back on track quickly. If you have multiple credit card balances to pay down, compare the interest rate on each. Focus on the cards with the highest interest rate first, as that debt can cost you the most over time.
Leverage what you’ve already spent.
Has holiday party planning drained your gift-giving budget more than you intended? There’s still time to gift everyone on your list — without wrecking your finances further.
Have a recycling bin full of wine and beer bottles from your holiday bash? Repurpose them to create an on-trend handmade soy candle for loved ones. Or, whip up a large batch of DIY candy cane body scrub made of almond oil, peppermint essential oil and sugar for an indulgent yet budget-friendly spa treat your friends will cherish.
Take advantage of points.
Did you use a rewards credit card to pay for your holiday party purchases? Explore whether you can apply rewards earned for cash back, or to purchase gift cards for those who remain on your holiday list.
Make your leftovers last.
Got a little overzealous with your holiday party spread? Transform leftovers into packed lunches. You’ll save money, while putting all those tasty treats to good use.
Family Circle says halved chicken breasts and mini rolls can get a tasty second act as lunchtime sliders. A leftover veggie tray transforms into a healthy afternoon work snack. Mix remaining appetizers like cheese, olives, cured meat and lettuce in a bowl for a traveling antipasto.
Put your holiday cash to work.
Got a holiday bonus? Received a little cash from a generous loved one? Make your holiday windfalls gifts that keep on giving and pay off your high interest holiday debt.
If you have money left over, resist the urge to splurge on post-holiday markdowns. Instead, put the cash into an emergency savings account. You’ll have cash reserves to turn to in case you’re hit with a broken furnace, flat tire or unexpectedly high heating bill this winter. Then, if you’re lucky enough to avoid such emergencies, you’ll have a fund ready and waiting for the holidays next year!
Bank your lessons toward future holiday parties.
Don’t let a little budget buster kill your holiday spirit. Instead, use the lessons from your holiday present to hold more frugal (but equally festive) gatherings in the future.
Bankrate points out that swapping expensive filet mignon and shrimp for entrees like braised beef are an easy way to manage your party budget. Get creative with your party presentation by using items like votive candle holders to showcase veggies and dips, instead of pricey serving platters.
Once you identify which aspects of your party took your budget off course, you’ll be able to become more adept at planning a holiday gathering that honors your guests, while retaining better control of the amount of money you spend on spreading holiday cheer.