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Bank Marketers: Use this fun article to share on your social channels to help increase engagement, cheer, and thoughtful spending, throughout the holiday season! 

The holiday season often leads to overspending and racking up debt when it should be about merriment and cheer! Holiday related expenses often include the obvious like presents and food, but it’s important to remember things like wrapping paper, cards, and decorations which can throw a wrench in budgets too. If you don’t have an unlimited holiday budget, there are ways to combat overspending by doing some pre-planning, expressing enthusiasm, and scrounging up a little bit of creativity.

1. Gifts

Nowadays, there are so many ways to create your own gifts. Making your own gifts not only cuts down on costs but loved ones will appreciate the effort it takes to put together – along with the special feeling they’ll get, knowing their gift is truly one-of-a-kind.

Inexperienced crafters do not fret! Simple handmade gift ideas can include writing a letter describing how much a person means to you, framing a memorable photo, or putting together a photo album filled with warm memories. Other easy DIY gifts can include things like homemade stovetop potpourri that can be packaged up in mason jars that are always in style and used for various purposes, homemade drawer sachets filled with your favorite fragrant dried flowers, or even a fun luxury bath-time essential like an inexpensive sugar scrub that can be made with soap base, sugar, and your favorite kind of moisturizing oil.

Looking for other easy homemade gift options? Try baking treats! Cookies or brownies can be dressed up with festive sprinkles. Or you can get creative and put together various kinds of soup mixes packaged neatly in mason jars or even throw together a big batch of caramel apple butter in your slow cooker – another delightful treat that can be packaged up nicely in a reusable jar.

Offering your services also never goes out of style. Give the gift of your time to babysit for your busy loved one who’s in need of a night out without kids or offer a month of lawn or housework duties to a loved one. Think about what services you want to offer and create a coupon that the recipient can redeem at a date of their choosing.

2. Gift-wrapping

Now that you have taken the time to choose cost-effective gifts, you probably don’t want to spend $50 wrapping them! By skipping the fancy wrapping paper and bows, you’re not only avoiding a hefty price-point, but you’re also helping the environment as well. Alternatively, try using pre-existing things around the house to create a memorable unwrapping experience for your friends and family. Try wrapping your gifts using the comic section of an old newspaper, or a festive reusable shopping bag. Inexpensive craft supplies, such as glitter and paint, can also help jazz up plain boxes or surfaces.

3. Cards

Go to any convenience store and you’ll see that an average greeting card is between $4 – $5 – if you purchase one for each of your family members, you’ll likely be spending upwards of $100, just on cards! To cut down on costs, try making your own card designs by using ordinary household items like computer paper, colored pencils, markers, or pens. Alternatively, you can skip the card making all together and opt for sending an e-card! If sending e-cards isn’t your thing, take a second look at your greeting card mailing list and work on trimming it down. Keep your mailing list contained to just close family members and friends to keep costs reasonable.

4. Decorations

Going to stores like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx can easily inspire one to buy copious amounts of unnecessary holiday decorations. Before you know it, you’ve racked up hundreds of dollars solely on seasonal decorations. Instead, try making your own! Make it a fun family activity by stringing garland out of popcorn or get together to collect pinecones or acorns and adorn them with glitter and twine to give them a nice seasonal touch. If you’re really craving store-bought decorations, consider waiting until after the holidays to buy them. Most stores will be selling them at a deep discount, and you can use them next year.

5. Food

Gatherings like Friendsgiving and potluck dinners are great ways to shift the burden off the host from needing to purchase all the food for a well-attended holiday party. However, if potlucks aren’t your thing, but you’re still interested in hosting a holiday gathering, consider eliminating a full dinner. Instead, host a cocktail party with light appetizers, drinks, and desserts. Time and again, guests prefer this option as it gives them more time to mingle and catch up with friends and loved ones.

With these simple tips, it’s clear you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a very festive, and memorable holiday season. Plan ahead, get creative with your gifts, decorations, and wrapping and you’re bound to have a holiday that’s focused more on spending valuable time with loved ones rather than stressing about your depleted bank account.

NEFMA is a premier association made up of leaders in the New England financial marketing community encouraging members to explore, share, expand, build, network, and grow. Our goals are to educate and inform individuals involved in financial services marketing on topics critical to their success; offer a practical forum for meaningful exchange of information; provide ample opportunities for the professional growth of the membership; and assist financial institutions in achieving positive bottom-line impact via sound marketing practices. Join now and become a dynamic part of our growing community.